The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday rejected the mercy petitions of six people, including that of Nithari killings convict Surendra Koli and two sisters sentenced to death for murdering several children.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh cleared the files recommending to President Pranab Mukherjee that the mercy pleas of Renukabai and Seema (Maharashtra), Koli (Uttar Pradesh), Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik (Maharashtra), Jagdish (Madhya Pradesh) and Holiram Bordoloi (Assam) should be rejected.
The President can return the cases to the ministry for reconsideration but if the government resends it, then he is constitutionally obliged to accept the decision.
Bordoloi’s death sentence was confirmed by Supreme Court back in 2005 and his mercy petition pending for years while the sentence of the two sisters were pending since 2006 after the apex court cleared their execution. Jagdish’s sentence was confirmed in 2009 while that of Koli in 2011 and Wasnik in October 2012.
This January, the Supreme Court had ruled that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in hanging are grounds for commuting a convict’s death penalty and had spared 15 death row convicts from execution. Koli was sentenced to death for sexually assaulting children and killing them in Nithari. Remains of several missing children were found near the house. While 16 cases were filed against Koli, he has been awarded death sentence in four of them so far and others are still under trial.
The sisters’ case as well as that of Jagdish was returned by Rashtrapati Bhavan as the files were sent to the President’s Secretariat at the fag end of UPA regime.
The sisters along with their mother and another accomplice Kiran Shinde kidnapped 13 children between 1990 to 1996 for committing crimes and killed nine of them when they grew up. The two sisters were given death sentence while their mother died in 1997 and Shinde turned an approver. Wasnik was sentenced to death for sexually abusing and killing a girl in Maharashtra while Jagdish is facing the gallows for murdering his wife and five children.
Jagdish had submitted that he was in an unsound state of mind and that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment, as the capital punishment had not been executed for over three years.
Bordoloi, another death-row convict, carried out the execution of three men of the same family in a gruesome manner in broad light in front of the villagers in an effort to protect his supremacy in the village.