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Court reserves order on sentence against Vikas, Vishal

A Delhi court on Friday reserved its order on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Vikas, son of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav, and his cousin Vishal in the Nitish Katara murder case.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2008 04:50 PM IST

A Delhi court on Friday reserved its order on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Vikas, son of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav, and his cousin Vishal in the Nitish Katara murder case.

The quantum of sentence, life imprisonment or death penalty, is likely to be pronounced at 1630 hours by Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur.

During the arguments lasting for over an hour, the prosecution sought death sentence for the convicts describing their offence as rarest of rare while the counsel for Yadavs pleaded for leniency.

Special Public Prosecutor BS Joon sought death penalty on the ground that their offence fell under the rarest of rare category as they killed a defenceless person in the most diabolical manner.

"They deserved death penalty for not only the offence but for utter disregard for the human body as they while disposing of the body, chopped off the private parts of Nitish Katara," he said.

Citing various Supreme Court judgements including that of infamous Tandoor case, the prosecutor said, the pre and post crime conduct of the convicts and the commission of this dastardly act merited the consideration of the case under the rarest of rare category, warranting award of gallows for them.

Senior defence lawyer KN Balagopal sought lenient punishment for the convicts, saying the case was based on circumstantial evidence and life imprisonment be awarded to the convicts as neither the offence was diabolical, nor the convicts were menace to the society.

"It is a regular murder committed under the emotional disturbances. Though every such offences are heinous but they all do not fall under the rarest of rare category," he said.

"Burn injuries on the victim's body were not ante-mortem. He (victim) was not burnt alive. The attempt to term this case as rarest of rare one is to be disregarded," Balagopal submitted.

Citing various high-profile murder cases including that of Jessica Lall, he said, even though those cases were based on direct evidence, no death penalty was awarded.

"This is a case which is based on circumstantial evidence," he said.

Rebutting his contentions, the prosecutor said, even in the cases based on circumstantial evidence, capital punishment could be awarded as was done in Tandoor murder case in which former Congress leader Sushil Sharma was sentenced to gallows.

Highlighting criminal past of the convicts, the prosecutor said, "They are not new to the world of crime. As far as Vikas is concerned, he has been involved in three murder cases including the present one during the last 16 years."

Vikas, who was on bail in Jessica Lall case, had committed this murder. It shows the audacity and culpability of the convict, he said, adding even now he has shown no remorse for his conduct.

Joon was also referring to a murder case registered against Vikas in 1991 which was later withdrawn by Uttar Pradesh government.

The prosecutor also highlighted the criminal past of co-convict Vishal Yadav and sought same punishment for him as well.

Countering defence counsel's arguments that Vikas was a qualified mechanical engineer and could be an asset to the society, if given an opportunity to reform, Joon said, "What about the victim? He was just 24 and was employed with a reputed multinational firm as manager."

"I am not saying that he (Nitish) could have become an asset to the society but he was an asset to the family," he said.

The court on Wednesday had convicted Vikas and his cousin Vishal for killing Nitish Katara six years ago for his intimacy with their sister Bharti Yadav.

Vikas, 35, and Vishal, a year younger, had kidnapped Nitish on the night of February 16, 2002 from a marriage party in Ghaziabad and killed him. Vikas was opposed to his sister Bharti Yadav's intimacy with Katara.

Katara's mutilated and burnt body was found in Khurja on the next day.

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