New Delhi: After a night-long court drama, the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case were hanged till death on Friday morning. Sandeep Goel, DG, Tihar Jail, confirmed to media persons a minute past 5:30am that all convicts were executed as per the warrant issued by the Patiala House Court.
Pawan Jallad, a hangman from Meerut, pulled the leaver at the scheduled time and the convicts were executed simultaneously. The jail doctors examined the bodies half an hour later and confirmed the deaths of Mukesh Singh, Pawan, Akshay Thakur and Vinay. He was paid Rs 15,000 for each execution.
Around 4.45 to 5am, District Magistrate Nehal Bansal went to the cells of the convicts and read out the warrant to all four. She then, along with the jail superintendent, medical officer and deputy superintendent asked them if they had a will.
None of the convicts expressed any last wishes to write a will and therefore all their belongings and the earnings made in jail would be handed over to their families.
While there was no response from Pawan or Akshay before their last moments, Mukesh gave in writing that he wanted to donate his body organs. Vinay gave some paintings to the jail superintendent and a hanuma chalisa and Baba ji's photo to his family.
The hands of all four were then tied behind their backs and masks placed around their heads. They were taken to the gallows by deputy superintendent in-charge and guarded by a head warden and six wardens – two in front, two behind them and two holding their arms.
"We expected resistance so had kept additional personnel ready to tackle them. But everything went off very peacefully," Sources told CNN-News 18.
While Mukesh and Vinay's families had met them one last time, Akshay and Pawan's families could not. Some family members of Pawan pelted stones outside Tihar when they were denied the opportunity to meet him one last time.
Hundreds of people waiting outside Tihar Jail welcomed the official confirmation of the hanging with a loud cheer. Social activist Yogita Bayana was seen distributing sweets, while many others held up posters saying justice has finally been delivered.
CNN News18 spoke to a class 4 student who, along with her father, waited outside jail to hear the news of hanging. "I had heard about how they had killed one aunty. So, I wanted to come and see their punishment," Chigisha said.
Her father said the execution would give Indian girls more hope about their safety and security.
Doctors of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital will carry out the postmortem of bodies after which the remains will be handed over to the families.
Jail officials said that while Mukesh seemed to have accepted his fate, the other three spent a restless night hoping for some positive order from the Delhi High Court or Supreme Court. "The convicts repeatedly asked the jail officials if some order has come to delay the hanging," officials said.
Defence lawyer A P Singh had argued in the high court for the postponement of execution on grounds that President Ram Nath Kovind was already prejudiced when he rejected the mercy plea. In Supreme Court, Singh knocked post midnight asking for a last chance to allow Pawan's family to meet him. Both courts refused to pass any favourable order.