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SC refuses to hear plea of death row convicts

New Delhi, Feb 16, 2013, DHNS 1:01 IST
This undated file photo shows India's most wanted man, Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, who was shot dead by police in October 2004. Four bandits - associates of notorious smuggler Veerappan - sentenced to death over a landmine blast that killed 22 policemen in 1993 approached India's Supreme Court February 16, 2013 seeking a stay on their execution, a lawyer for the men said. AFP
The Supreme Court on Saturday refused to hear on an urgent basis a plea made on behalf of four alleged associates of slain forest brigand Veerappan, against their imminent execution in a landmine blast case in Karnataka in 1993. Twenty-two police personnel were killed in the blast.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves approached the Supreme Court’s additional registrar, who in turn informed Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir at his residence about the petition seeking stay on execution of the death row convicts. They are lodged at a jail in Belgaum, Karnataka.

Kabir said the petition would be heard in due course as the petitioner could not produce any proof to show that their execution was fixed for Sunday, sources said. The petition raised the issue of an inordinate delay in disposing of their mercy pleas, Gonsalves told Deccan Herald. The four convicts filed the petition in the apex court following news reports that they will be executed on Sunday.

President Pranab Mukherjee recently rejected the clemency petitions of Veerappan’s aides Simon, Madaiah and Bilavendra and his brother Ganaprakash. They were awarded death sentence in 2004 in connection with the blast at Palar on April 9, 1993.

A TADA court in Mysore awarded them life term in 2001. The sentence was later enhanced to death by the apex court on an appeal filed by the Karnataka government.

Veerappan, a notorious sandalwood smuggler, was killed in an encounter in October 2004. The case of the four convicts was first submitted to the President’s Secretariat in 2005. It was called for review in May 2011 and again sent back within 10 days on May 25, 2011.

President Pranab Mukherjee reportedly took a final call on their fate on February 13.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins – V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu – had also approached the apex court.

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