'Matter's sensitivity delayed Afzal Guru's petition'
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said the "sensitivity" of the matter led to delay in clearing mercy petition of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.delhi Updated: May 24, 2010 23:47 IST
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday said the "sensitivity" of the matter led to delay in clearing mercy petition of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
While downplaying the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) protest against the delay, Dikshit said it was up to the president to take a final call on the matter.
"It is a sensitive issue," the chief minister said when asked about the delay of almost four years in clearing the file of Guru, who was sentenced to death by a trial court in December 2002.
After 4 years of delay and 16 reminders from the home ministry, the Delhi government May 19 sent the file on mercy petition of the parliament attack convict back to Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna, backing Guru's execution.
Dikshit said: "We never opposed the Supreme Court verdict against him. We will never do that."
The BJP has criticised the city government for delaying the file and put up posters across the city asking the Delhi chief minister to reply on the matter.
Meanwhile, officials in Raj Bhavan said the file will be sent to central home ministry soon.
Guru, a resident of Sopore in the Kashmir Valley, was found guilty of plotting the Dec 13, 2001, parliament attack and was sentenced to death by a trial court in December 2002. The Delhi High Court confirmed the death penalty in October 2003.
The Supreme Court also upheld the capital punishment given to Guru for his role in the terror attack. Guru's wife, Tabassum, filed a mercy petition before the president after the apex court's verdict.
As per the laid down procedure, the president sought the home ministry's views on the mercy petition in 2005.
The procedure on mercy petition also requires the home ministry to seek comments of the state government in whose jurisdiction the crime, for which the death penalty is awarded to the convict, has been committed.