A bench of justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha fixed April 25 for hearing arguments on quantum of sentence to be awarded to Vikas Yadav, his cousin Vishal and Sukhdev Yadav. "The appeals are devoid of merit. We have also held that the killing of Nitish Katara was a honour killing," the bench said. The high court's judgement came nearly a year after it had reserved its verdict on April 16 last year.
The trial court had in 2008 convicted them and awarded rigorous life term
The lawyers for the convicts, State and Neelam Katara, mother of the victim, had started advancing final arguments on April 16, 2012. 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.
The court has heard five appeals filed by three convicts against their conviction and one each from the prosecution and Neelam Katara seeking death penalty for the persons found guilty by the lower court. However, the court had decided to segregate the appeals filed by the victim's mother and the prosecution from that of convicts.
The prosecution had alleged that the Yadavs allegedly killed the victim as they did not approve of his alleged affair with their sister Bharti Yadav. Vikas and Vishal were convicted by the trial court in 2008. Their accomplice Pehlwan, who had absconded for some time but was arrested in 2005, was tried separately and sentenced to life term by the trial court.
The trial court had in 2008 convicted them and awarded rigorous life term to all three.