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President Rejects Nirbhaya Convict's Mercy Petition After Home Ministry Recommendation

File photo of four convicted in Nirbhaya rape and murder case.

File photo of four convicted in Nirbhaya rape and murder case.

Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, had filed the mercy petition a few days ago.

New Delhi: The President on Friday rejected the mercy petition of one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape case after the Union Home Ministry recommended the rejection.

Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, had filed the mercy petition a few days ago.

“The Home Ministry has forwarded the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh to the President. The ministry has reiterated the recommendation of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for its rejection," an official had said.

The Delhi LG had sent the mercy petition of Mukesh to the Home Ministry on Thursday, a day after the Delhi government recommended its rejection.

The four convicts — Mukesh Singh (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) were to be hanged on January 22 at 7am in Tihar Jail, seven years after a medical student was gang-raped on a moving bus, tortured and killed in December 2012. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7.

However, the Delhi government had informed the high court during a hearing that execution of the convicts will not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by Mukesh.

The BJP on Thursday blamed AAP government’s “negligence” for the “delay” in the hanging of Nirbhaya case convicts, saying it took more than two-and-a-half years for the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation to give notice to convicts after Supreme Court rejected their appeal against the death sentence in 2017.

Senior party leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that had the AAP government given notices to all convicts within a week of the Supreme Court order, they would have been hanged by now and the nation would have got justice.

The AAP hit back at the BJP for holding it responsible for the delay, saying law and order comes under the Centre and the saffron party is lying to mislead the people.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh said it is an "insensitive and uninformative lie" as law and order is completely under the Centre.

"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," said Singh.

If the petition is rejected, the convicts will be given a mandatory 14-day reprieve before the execution is carried out.

Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi said she welcomed the President's decision. "Mukesh has no other option but they should be hanged on January 22 and only then it will be a fair judgment," she said.

first published:January 17, 2020, 10:49 IST