Rejecting a plea for death penalty, Delhi High Court today enhanced the sentence for Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal from life imprisonment to 25 years without remission for the murder of Nitish Katara and five more years for destruction of evidence in the case.
A special bench of justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha also imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh each on Vikas, son of UP politician D P Yadav, and his cousin Vishal for the murder.
The court also increased the jail term of another convict Sukhdev Pehelwan to 25 years, saying all of them will have to undergo rigorous imprisonment without any remission behind bars except for the additional five years.
The judges turned down the plea moved by Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara and Delhi police seeking gallows for the three convicts.
Neelam Katara, who was present during the pronouncement of the order on sentence, later expressed disappointment over rejection of the plea for death penalty but was happy with the enhancement of the sentence.
“I will appeal against the order in the Supreme Court,” she said, adding that she does not require the compensation amount awarded by the court as she feels that no numerical value can be put on the life of her son.
The court, in its over 700-page judgement said that the time spent by Vikas in hospital (October 10, 2011 to November 4, 2011) shall not be counted as period already undergone by him in jail.
It also asked the Centre and the state government to conduct an inquiry into the convicts’ visits to the hospital during their stay in jail.
Vikas, his cousin Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehelwan are serving life term for abducting and killing Katara, a business executive and the son of a railway officer, on the night of February 16-17, 2002, as they opposed the victim’s affair with Bharti, daughter of D P Yadav.