New Delhi : Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav will undergo 25-year jail term each for their roles in the sensational kidnapping and killing of business executive Nitish Katara in 2002, the Supreme Court held on Monday.
The apex court however modified the award of 30 year jail term, handed down to the Yadavs by the Delhi High Court, saying that the 25 year imprisonment for the offence of murder and five year jail term for causing destruction of evidence, would run concurrently and not consecutively. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan also scaled down the jail term of 25 years to 20 years to be awarded to third co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case by holding that the imprisonment for separate offences would not run consecutively but concurrently.
“The appeals (of Yadavs and Pehalwan) are disposed of with the singular modification in the sentence i.e. the sentence under Section 201/34 IPC shall run concurrently. Needless to say, all other sentences and directions will remain intact,” the bench in its 93-page judgement said.
The bench has already dismissed the appeals against their convictions in the case for kidnapping Katara from a marriage party on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 before killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, sister of Vikas.
The apex court had concurred with the findings of the High Court that the offence fell under the category of honour killing, deserving harsh punishment, in order to send across a strong message to the possible offenders.
The bench rejected the contention that the High Court erred in fixing the jail term of 30 years in case of Yadav brothers and 25 years for Pehalwan in the case. “In the instant case, the High Court has thought it appropriate instead of imposing death sentence to impose the sentence as it has done. Therefore, the sentence imposed by the High Court cannot be found fault on that score,” the bench said.
“Though the High Court treated the murder as ‘honour killing’, yet regard being had to other factors, did not think appropriate to impose extreme penalty of death sentence.
“We may hasten to clarify that we have highlighted the factum of ‘honour killing’, as that is a seminal ground for imposing the fixed term sentence of 25 years for the offences under section 302/34 IPC on the two accused persons, who though highly educated in good educational institutions, had not cultivated the ability to abandon the depricable feelings and attitude for centuries.–PTI