Katara case: SC awards 25-yr jail term to Vikas, Vishal

The Supreme Court order has, however, scaled down the number of years to be spent in the jail by the convicts from 30 years to 25 years.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan also handed down a 20-year jail sentence to their co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case. 

The bench modified the Delhi High Court verdict that had said that separate jail terms of 25-years and 5-years for the offences of murder and destruction of evidence would run consecutively against Vikas and Vishal.

The court said both the jail terms would run concurrently that would effectively lead to the award of 25 years of imprisonment to the Yadavs. Simultaneously, Pehalwan, who was granted 25-year jail term in the case by the High Court, will now have to face 20-year imprisonment in the matter.

The order came on the appeals filed by Vikas and Vishal against the Delhi high court order which had enhanced the life term to 25 years in jail without remission and an additional five years for destruction of evidence in the case, terming Katara’s murder as “honour killing”.

The Yadavs’ acquaintance Sukhdev Yadav alias Pehelwan was then awarded an enhanced life sentence of 25 years without remission by the High Court which had held that the crime fell in “rarest of rare category”, but saved them from the gallows saying possibility of their reformation and rehabilitation was not “unforseeably foreclosed”.

The Supreme Court had on August 17, 2015, upheld the conviction of Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev, saying “only criminals are crying for justice” in this country.

Mother Courageous

The conviction and jail term for the powerful accused in Nitish Katara murder case, Vikas and Vishal Yadav would not have been possible but for the indomitable spirit shown by the victim’s mother 
Neelam Katara. 

An ordinary house wife till tragedy befell her Neelam Katara fought her husband’s illness at home and her son’s killers in the court. Her regular presence during the trial, sped up proceedings in the matter.

She even took on the BJP leadership when DP Yadav, father of the accused Vikas Yadav, was admitted in the party on the eve of 2004 parliament elections. Then Deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani had ordered expulsion of DP Yadav from the party following her protests.

She made common cause with Neelam Krishnamoorti, the person who waged a long drawn battle against a corporate house in the Uphaar tragedy case. The two together ensured that the dreary process of law did not come in the way of justice in the case.
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