MHA forwards Nirbhaya convict's mercy petition to Prez

MHA forwards mercy petition of Nirbhaya convict to President; recommends rejection

President Ram Nath Kovind. (PTI Photo)

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind to reject the mercy plea of one of the Nirbhaya case convicts Mukesh Singh.

Officials said the Ministry has forwarded the file to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the mercy petition filed on Tuesday by Mukesh, soon after Supreme Court rejected his curative petition on his death penalty.

Earlier, the Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal too recommended rejection of his mercy plea.

A local court earlier issued death warrants against Mukesh Singh (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) and set January 22 as the date of their execution. However, the execution will not happen on this date as the Supreme Court has ordered that a convict should be given at least 14 days after his mercy petition is rejected.

Meanwhile, all the four convicts in Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case were on Thursday shifted to Jail No. 3 of Tihar Prison complex from Jail No. 2. In Tihar, the executions take place in Jail No. 3.

With Assembly elections round the corner, the delay in execution has triggered a political war of words with the BJP accusing the AAP government of doing nothing in the past two-and-half years after Supreme Court rejected their appeal against the death penalty.

"The case shook the whole country and the only reason that the convicts are still not hanged is the negligence of the AAP government. Why did the Delhi government not give notice for two-and-a-half years? They are responsible for the delay in the case," senior BJP leader and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday.

Countering him, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, "Give us Delhi Police and law-and-order responsibility for two days and we will hang Nirbhaya convicts."

AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, "Whatever delay is taking place, the BJP is responsible, and that is why instead of misleading people, the Union minister should apologise for ignoring such a sensitive matter." Nirbhaya's mother also criticised the AAP for the delay.

Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta were convicted in the gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedic in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. She was thrown out of the bus naked after the rape along with her male friend who was accompanying her and succumbed to her injuries later. Another death row convict, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail while a convicted minor was released after he completed his sentence in a juvenile home.

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