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Delhi HC awards 30 years jail to Katara murderers; Police, victim's family wanted death

The Delhi High Court today sentenced Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav to 30 years in prison for the murder of Nitish Katara, a friend of Vikas Yadav's sister.

But a special bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice JR. Midha rejected police and Nitish Katara's mother Neelam Katara's plea to award the death penalty to the two Yadavs and Sukhdev Pehalwan, who carried out the killing.

The bench awarded 25 years jail to the Yadavs for the murder and five years for destruction of evidence. The two sentences will run consecutively. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 54 lakh each on the cousins.

The court sentenced Pehalwan to 25 years in jail with a fine of Rs 20,000.

The bench said the convicts will have to undergo the punishment without any remission.

The counsels of Vikas and Vishal said they would approach the Supreme Court against the judgment.

Neelam Katara, who had sought the death sentence for the three killers, will get Rs 40 lakh as compensation from the Yadav brothers, the bench said.

After the ruling, Neelam Katara said "I respect the judgment of, I appreciate they at least agreed to enhance punishment, I am satisfied with that. But I will move Supreme Court."

She said: "I think any numerical value can't compensate the death of my son. It will be injustice for my son if I accept the compensation."

According to the prosecution, Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav killed Katara on the night of Feb 17, 2002, after abducting him from a marriage party in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad as they were opposed to his friendship with their sister Bharti.

Vikas and Bharti are children of former parliamentarian DP. Yadav.

Vishal was convicted in 2008 along with Vikas for kidnapping and murdering Katara, son of an Indian Administrative Service officer.

In its ruling Friday, the court also said the period spent by Vikas in AIIMS from Oct 10, 2011 to Nov 4, 2011, shall not be counted as a period already spent by him in jail.

The bench asked him to pay Rs 2,39 lakh to the Delhi government towards the hospital and security charges during his stay in the All India Institute Of Medical Science.

Neelam Katara had alleged that Vikas visited hospitals many times by misusing his financial and political influence.

For Vishal, the court said the 320 days which he spent in Batra Hospital shall not be counted as a period in which he has undergone imprisonment and asked him to pay over Rs 15.39 lakh to the Delhi government for the expenditure incurred on him during his seven hospital admissions post conviction.

The bench April 2, 2014 upheld the 2008 trial court judgment that sentenced the three to life imprisonment and termed the case as of "honour killing".

The Yadavs had sought a retrial of the case, saying the trial was not conducted in accordance with law.

Neelam Katara and police had also challenged the trial court's order and sought the death penalty for the three convicts.

Timeline

The Delhi High Court Friday sentenced Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav to 30 years in prison for the murder of Nitish Katara, a friend of Vikas Yadav's sister. Following is the timeline of the murder case:

Feb 16-17, 2002: Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav allegedly abduct and kill Nitish Katara for his intimacy with Vikas's sister Bharti Yadav.

Feb 20: The burnt body of Nitish Katara is found near Hapur crossing in a village in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh.

March 31: UP police file chargesheet in the murder case.

Apr 23: Police arrest accused Vikas and Vishal from Madhya Pradesh.

Aug 23: The Supreme Court orders the transfer of the case from a Ghaziabad sessions court to Delhi High Court.

Nov 23: Delhi High Court frames charges against the accused in the murder case and orders conduct of a separate trial against the third accused, Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case.

May 27, 2008: Court reserves order in the case.

May 28: Trial court holds Vikas and Vishal guilty in Nitish Katara murder case.

May 30: Court sentences both convicts to life terms.

July 1: Nitish's mother Neelam Katara approaches Delhi High Court seeking death penalty for Vikas and Vishal.

Sept 5: Vikas and Vishal file appeal in High Court challenging the trial court verdict.

Jul 6, 2011: Trial court convicts Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case.

Jul 10: Court awards life imprisonment to Sukhdev.

Apr 16, 2013: High Court reserves judgment on appeals filed respectively by Nitish's mother Neelam Katara, the three convicts and the prosecution.

Apr 2, 2014: High Court upholds conviction of Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev, says it was a case of honour killing.

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