Supreme relief for death convicts at Hindalga jail

Supreme relief for death convicts at Hindalga jail

 Four aides of Veerappan, two rape and murder convicts from Chamarajanagar district and a murder convict from Dakshina Kannada district, heaved a sigh of relief at the Hindalga jail on Tuesday, after their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

All of whom were awaiting the verdict of the Supreme Court on the delay in the disposal of their mercy pleas by the President.

Last year, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the mercy petitions of the four aides of Veerappan, convicted for the bomb blast near the Sorekai Madu area at Palar in the MM Hills police station limits of Kollegal taluk in Chamarajanagar district, on April 9, 1993.

The blast had claimed the lives of 22 people, including police officials who were in a bus, and injured K Gopalakrishnan, Superintendent of Police of Kolathur in Tamil Nadu. He was popularly known as ‘Rambo’ Gopalakrishnan.

The Supreme Court had awarded death sentence to Gnanaprakasham, Simon Antonyappa, Bilavendran from Kollegal in Chamarajanagar district and Meesekar Madaiah from Mettur in Tamil Nadu in January 2004. They were brought to the Central Prison here, the only one in the State with execution facilities, on February 10, 2004. They filed a clemency petition with the President on February 12, 2004.

The police had chargesheeted 121 people in the case including Veerappan, his wife Muttulakshmi, Bilavendran, Madaiah, Antonyappa and Gnanaprakasham.

A special TADA court set up to try the accused had awarded life imprisonment to the four in September 2001.

Muttulakshmi was acquitted, along with seven others, by the Chamarajanagar district and sessions court in 2001.

In February last, after the President rejected their mercy petitions, prison authorities had made all preparations for their execution. The gallows and the noose had been readied and trials too had been conducted to carry out the execution. 

The family members of those convicted had visited the prison premises, anticipating their execution and to meet them for one last time.

Praveen Kumar Sapaliga from Peereyadak village in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada district was convicted in 2002 for four murders committed in 1994. He had submitted the mercy petition to the President in 2005.

Hindalga jail sources said that the convicts saw the news about their death sentences being commuted to life imprisonment from the TV set installed in their cell. They did not have words to express their joy.

Rape convicts

Shivu and Jadeswamy of Bhadraiahanahalli in Kollegal taluk had been awarded death sentence for the rape and murder of a young woman from the village in 2001.

The Chamarajanagar district and sessions court had awarded death sentence to them in 2005. The High Court and the Supreme Court had upheld the verdict of the lower court. Successive Presidents, including Mukherjee, had turned down their mercy pleas.

Deputy Inspector General of Prisons C Veerabhadraswamy said that they too got information of the death sentences being commuted to life imprisonment through the media and were yet to receive an official communication. Sources said that the convicts would not have to complete the life imprisonment sentences in the Hindalga prison itself. Communication regarding shifting them to prisons at the places where the trial court had convicted them was yet to be received.

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