Millennium Post

SC extends stay on Veerappan aides’ hanging by six months

The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the stay on the death sentence of four Veerappan associates by six months.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India said it will wait for the judgement of the other bench which also heard a plea for commutation of death sentence. The apex court adjourned hearing on the plea by Veerappan aides by six months.

The court decided to keep pending their petition seeking commutation of death sentence on the ground that their mercy pleas were kept pending for eight years causing them serious mental agony.

The court decided to wait for six months in the hope that during this time another bench of the court would deliver its judgement on petition of 1993 Delhi blast condemned prisoner Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, who also had sought commutation of death penalty on identical grounds. Judgement in Bhullar case has been reserved since March last year.

The four associates of sandalwood bandit Veerappan are on death row at the Belgaum Central Jail in Karnataka.

On Monday, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice Altamas Kabir had stayed their execution till Wednesday.

The four – Gnana Prakasam, Simon, Meesakaara Madiah and Bilavendran - have been on death row for nine years and have requested the apex court to commute their death sentence to life imprisonment since there has been an inordinate delay in deciding on their mercy petition.

Their mercy petitions pending since 2004 were rejected earlier by President Pranab Mukherjee.

They are accused of killing 22 policemen and forest officials in a landmine blast in Palar, Karnataka in 1993. The designated special court at Mysore had awarded life imprisonment to all four in the case.

The Karnataka government filed a petition against the verdict in Supreme Court demanding capital punishment for the accused.

Their lawyer had on Saturday sought an urgent hearing at the Chief Justice’s residence as the apex court was closed that day, pleading there were reports that the four men would be hanged at the Belgaum, Karnataka jail where they are lodged, on Sunday.

But the court rejected that appeal saying there was nothing to suggest that an execution had been slotted.
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