Abhinav Garg, TNN | Sep 30, 2014, 02.18AM IST
NEW DELHI: Faced with the prospect of being hanged, Nitish Katara's killers Vikas Yadav and Vishal began their arguments against the death penalty before the Delhi high court on Monday. A bench of Justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha heard arguments on behalf of Yadav by his lawyer Sumeet Verma who opposed demand for death penalty on several grounds. Verma maintained that the crime in question can't be categorized as a heinous offence meriting a rarest of rare punishment. He pointed out that Nitish's death occurred due to single hammer blow and can't under no circumstances can it be categorized as brutal or heinous more so since there was no other injury on the victim's body.
The defence also argued that the convicts have been behind bars for 12 years and their conduct in jail gives no reason to believe they can't be reformed. Police and Katara's mother, Neelam, have demanded death penalty for the three accused in the case that Yadav and the two other accused deserve death penaltyas 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 prosecution has argued.
"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," the police said earlier. The 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, Police further said that the age of the convicts should not be a mitigating factor for not awarding death penalty.
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.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Katara-killers-argue-against-death-penalty/articleshow/43839600.cms [last accessed 06.02.2015]