New Delhi: Vikas Yadav, one of the three convicts in the Nitish Katara murder case, today pleaded before the Delhi High Court that he be exempted from death penalty as his act was not so brutal or gruesome and there are chances of his reformation.
"He (Vikas Yadav) is in jail from last 12 and half years, without being out from the prison for a single day.
"His act was not so brutal or gruesome for which death penalty is the only remedy," a special bench of justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha was told by the counsel appearing for Vikas.
Vikas, his cousin Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev are serving life term for abducting and killing 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, daughter of D P Yadav.
Earlier, the victim's mother and Delhi Police, who had concluded their arguments, had demanded death for the trio terming their offence to be rarest of rare.
The counsel for Vikas also said that the lenient view can be taken as there are all chances of his reformation.
"There is a clear report of the probation officers, who have visited his house, neighbours and relatives that there is all likelihood of his reformation," the counsel argued.
He further said that his client's case is not a honour killing.
"In over 24 countries in Europe, there are provisions of death penalty but hardly any people there is awarded such kind of punishments. This practice is being adopted from decades," the counsel said, adding that the Supreme Court is also preferring to commute death sentences to life term. (More) PTI PPS HMP SJK
Delhi Police and Nitish's mother Neelam Katara are seeking capital punishment or an enhanced life sentence for Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev.
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, Vishal and Sukhdev as they did not approve of the victim's affair with Bharti because they belong to different castes, the court had said.
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.
The arguments will continue on October 9.