New Delhi, Feb 6: In a much-awaited verdict of 13-year-old case, the Delhi High Court on Friday, Feb 6 turned down the plea of death sentence of the killers of Nitish Katara, a business executive and the son of an IAS officer.
While pronouncing the verdict, the special bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice JR Midha awarded life term to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal without remission for 25 years.
The Delhi High Court also awarded life imprisonment to contract killer Sukhdev Pehelwan, third convict in Katara murder case, without remission for 20 years.
High Court also awarded an additional 5 year-jail term to all three convicts for destruction of evidence in the case.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh fine each on Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav.
The victim's mother, Neelam Katara, and the Delhi Police had demanded death for the trio, terming their offence to be the 'rarest of rare'.
Shortly after the verdict was announced, Katara's mother, Neelam Katara said, "We had asked for capital punishment, Court rejected that plea,on that extent I'm disappointed. But I respect Court's judgment, they at least agreed to enhance punishment, satisfied with that".
The bench April 2, 2014 had upheld the 2008 trial court judgment that sentenced the three to life imprisonment and termed the case as of "honour killing".
Since April, the court has been hearing the appeals of police and Katara's mother Neelam Katara who sought death sentence to the three convicts, who are serving life terms in the Tihar Central Jail here.
Katara was abducted and killed by Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev as they did not approve of the victim's affair with Bharti because they belonged to different castes, the court had said.
The high court had dismissed the appeals of the convicts and kept pending two separate pleas of the state and Neelam Katara seeking death penalty for them.
Vikas and Bharti are children of former Uttar Pradesh parliamentarian D P Yadav.
Vishal was convicted in 2008 along with Vikas for kidnapping and murdering Katara.
The Yadavs had sought a re-trial of the case, saying the trial was not conducted in accordance with law.
They had challenged the trial court order convicting them and sentencing them to life imprisonment. Katara's mother and police had also challenged the trial court's order and sought death penalty for three convicts.
(With agency inputs)