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President rejects mercy plea of Hindalga inmate, execution soon

Raju Gavali, Belgaum, Jan 13, 2013, DHNS: 10:27 IST
A file photo of the gallows at the Central Prison, Hindalga in  Belgaum.
The gallows at the Central Prison at Hindalga here will soon have to be readied for executing a murder convict whose mercy petition has been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.

This will be the first execution in the prison after a gap of 30 years. The prison does not have a hangman and will have to find one.

President Mukherjee’s official website shows that the mercy petition of death row convict Saibanna Ningappa Natikar, lodged in the Central Prison, was rejected on January 4, 2013.

Natikar had submitted the mercy petition on April 30, 2005, following the confirmation of his death sentence by the Supreme Court on April 21, 2005. Saibanna was convicted for the murder of his wife and daughter. The Ministry of Home Affairs had recommended to the President death sentence for Natikar on November 5, 2012.

The Hindalga prison is the only one in the State that has the facility for hanging those on the death row. The last execution was carried out in the prison in November 1983, when murder convict Hanumanth was hanged. Official sources said the prison here houses 60 death sentence convicts and nine of them (including Natikar) had filed mercy petitions before the President. The appeals of the others are pending in the Supreme Court and the High Court of Karnataka.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons) S Ravi told Deccan Herald that the department was yet to receive a communication from the President’s office regarding the rejection of Natikar’s mercy petition.

On receipt of the communication, all arrangements will be made to carry out the sentence. The prison does not have a hangman as the requirement did not arise since the last execution. The prison will make all necessary arrangements, Ravi said.

The convicts on death row have been housed in a separate cell inside the prison and they do not have access to other inmates.

Among the convicts, psychopath rapist and killer Umesh Reddy alias B A Umesh has been regularly petitioning the President against the prison personnel, sources said. Reddy, son of Ajjappa Reddy from Hiriyur in Chitradurga district, has been housed in the prison since October 29, 2006.

The mercy petition of Praveen Kumar Sapaliga from Peereyadak village in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada district was submitted on October 26, 2003.

Four aides of slain forest brigand Veerappan - Simon (son of Anthonyappa), Bilavendran (son of Marrisgouda), Gyanprakash (son of Joseph from Kollegal in Chamarajanagar district) and Madaiah alias Meesekar from Mettur in Tamil Nadu filed their mercy pleas on February 12, 2004. Shivu (son of Munishetty) and Jadeswamy (son of Rangashetty) from Kollegal in Chamarajanagar district submitted their petitions on February 28, 2007.

The death sentence of rape and murder convict Bandu Baburao Tidke from Bagalkot, who died in the prison on October 18, 2007, was commuted to life sentence by the then president Pratibha Patil in June 2012, five years after his death.

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