President of India, Pranab Mukherjee recently signed crucial death penalties following which Mumbai terror attacks gunman Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru have been hanged. Protesting against the existing law on death penalty, the DMK chief claimed that executions happening now could have been avoided.
The apex court on Monday stayed the execution of four aides of slain forest brigand Veerappan till Wednesday. The four associates had approached the apex court seeking commutation after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected their mercy petition on Feb 13. Their execution was reportedly scheduled for Sunday morning.
Giving the stay order, a bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and justices AR Dave and Vikramjit Sen said the writ petition would be heard on Feb 20.
The petition on behalf of the four convicts was filed by advocate Samik Narain. He was given the liberty to amend and rectify it after objections were made on its maintenance by Attorney general GE Vahanvati, who was asked to assist the court. The four convicts moved the Supreme Court on Saturday.
The four, who currently are lodged in a jail in Karnataka, are - Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran. The four men were given death sentence in 2004 in connection with a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka 20 years ago which claimed lives of 22 policemen. A TADA court in Mysore had awarded them life sentence in 2001 and it was enhanced to death sentence by the Supreme Court.
Karunanidhi's demand of abolishing death penalty seems to have come as his another tactics to save Veerappan's aides. The DMK chief is known as a sympathiser of Veerappan and his aides.