Nirbhaya convicts to go to the gallows on February 1


New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) 

A court here on Friday issued fresh death warrants against the four convicts – Akshay Singh, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh and Vinay Sharma – in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case.

Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora fixed February 1 as the date of execution of the four death row convicts. The convicts will be hanged at 6 a.m.

The move came after the prosecution moved an application seeking issuance of fresh death warrants following the rejection of the mercy plea of convict Mukesh by the President.

"None of the petitions of any convict is pending before any forum. So my prayer is that new death warrants be issued for execution of the four convicts," said Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed while filing the application.

The new death warrants are dated to exactly 14 days from today, in accordance with a law that states convicts to be executed must have a reprieve from the time their mercy plea is turned down.

While issuing the fresh death warrants, the court noted: "The case presents a scenario where the convicts have been given an opportunity to file mercy petition and exercise the legal remedies. However, only one of them has preferred the mercy petition. How much can we delay it?"

While the prosecution argued that no plea is pending before ant forum, advocate A.P. Singh, who represents Akshay, Pawan and Vinay, accused the jail authorities of concealing the facts, stating: "Pawan has filed an SLP (special leave petition) before the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order by which it had rejected his plea praying to consider him as a juvenile at the time of the crime."

Meanwhile, advocate Vrinda Grover, who is appearing for Mukesh, also moved an application seeking some documents regarding the post mercy stage.

The 23-year-old victim was brutally gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld in May 2017 by the Supreme Court, which also dismissed their review petitions.