Killers of Nitish Katara deserve death: Delhi Police to HC

The city police on Friday told the Delhi High Court that Vikas Yadav and two others, convicted for killing Nitish Katara in 2002, deserve death penalty as the offence was "pre-meditated" and committed in a "cold- blooded" manner.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 22, 2014, 22:02 PM IST

New Delhi: The city police on Friday told the Delhi High Court that Vikas Yadav and two others, convicted for killing Nitish Katara in 2002, deserve death penalty as the offence was "pre-meditated" and committed in a "cold- blooded" manner.

"The convicts (Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev Pehalwan), in furtherance of their common intention, murdered the victim Nitish Katara in a cold-blooded, planned and pre-meditated manner, without any provocation," the counsel for Delhi police told a bench of justices Gita Mittal and JR Midha.

Rajesh Mahajan, appearing for the police, said "the brutality of the crime not only lies in the manner of its execution but also in its conception".
"The burning of the body after killing the deceased and leaving it without any clothes demonstrated a depraved state of mind and lack of remorse as the accused displayed no respect even for the human body," he said.

Delhi Police and the victim Nitish`s mother Neelam Katara are seeking capital punishment or an enhanced life sentence for Vikas, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehalwan.

While seeking the gallows for the three convicts, the police further said the age of the convicts should not be considered as a mitigating factor for not awarding the death penalty.

The standing counsel for police also cited various apex court judgements, including the verdict against convict Amir Ajmal Kasab in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack case to drive home the point that age alone is not a factor for not awarding death penalty as Kasab was only 19 year-old.
The convicts are a "serious threat" to the society if they are released and may harm the society at large, he said.

"The trial court as well as this court have already held that this is a case of honour killing. I want to add one more thing that the honour killing falls under the rarest of rare category of cases warranting imposition of death penalty," he said.

Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev Pehalwan are serving life term for abducting and killing Nitish Katara, a business executive and son of an IAS officer, on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002. They did not approve of the victim`s affair with Bharti, sister of Vikas.

The High Court had on April 2 upheld the verdict of the
lower court in the case by describing the offence as "honour killing" stemming from a "deeply-entrenched belief" in caste system.

Katara was abducted and killed by Vikas, his cousin Vishal and Pehalwan as they did not approve of the victim`s affair with Bharti because they belong to different castes, the court had said.

During the arguments, the Delhi Police counsel said "all the accused were earlier involved in criminal cases, which shows their propensity towards the crime.

"Sukhdev was an absconder for over three and half years, so there is no chance of his reformation and rehabilitation."

Earlier, the counsel for Neelam Katara had demanded death for the three terming their offence as the "rarest of rare".

The advancing of arguments remained inconclusive and would resume on August 29.

Meanwhile, the court today also issued a notice to Delhi Police on Vikas` plea seeking parole to visit his ailing 93-year-old grandfather who has undergone angioplasty.

Vikas, son of politician DP Yadav, has sought three months` parole for visiting his grandfather.

He said he has been in jail for last twelve and half years and his conduct has been "good".

The plea said he has approached the court as Delhi government has so far not taken any decision on his plea for grant of parole.

The high court had dismissed the appeals of the convicts and kept pending two separate pleas of the state and Neelam Katara seeking death penalty for them.