After a six-year legal battle, Vikas Yadav, son of controversial Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav, and his cousin, Vishal Yadav, were held guilty by a Delhi court on Wednesday for killing Nitish Katara. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on Friday.
The two Yadav cousins had kidnapped Katara, who was in a relation with their sister, Bharti Yadav, on the night of February 16, 2002, from a marriage party in Ghaziabad and killed him and then partially burnt his body to destroy evidences. Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur convicted the two dismissing their plea that an application seeking stay on the pronouncement of judgement was to come up for hearing before the Delhi High Court.
The judge went ahead with the pronouncement of judgement after the counsel for accused said that there was no stay on the trial courts proceedings by the High Court. I hold Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav guilty under Sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, the court said.
Later in the day, when the convicts plea for staying verdict was dismissed by the High Court, saying the plea as infructous after their conviction by the trial court. The convicts had on Tuesday moved the High Court for recalling witnesses, including Ajay Katara, whose testimony on the last-seen evidence was crucial for the prosecution case, following a sting operation CD purportedly showing collusion between him and Neelam Katara, the victims mother.
Soon after the court verdict, Ms Neelam Katara, who led a determined and valiant legal battle for the last six years, said: My faith in judiciary has been strengthened with the verdict. I believe this will ensure that no other son of any mother has to meet such a fate.
The victims younger brother, Nitin Katara, attributed the judgement to his mothers relentless fight for justice. I believe he (Nitish) died for love. He died for freedom of expression, he died for that school of thought...in our generation that we are allowed to make a choice and stand by it and that belief has been vindicated today by this decision.
On being asked why he stayed away from the trial for so long, Nitin said his mother was the big force fighting for justice and he did not want to be a distraction for her. My mother is my God,he said.
Special public prosecutor B S Joon said the solid evidence in the case had made him firmly believe right from the very beginning that it was Yadavs who had committed the offence. In my mind, it was always there that Vikas and Vishal have committed the gruesome crime and they cannot evade the conviction for their act, and you all saw and heard it what the court had delivered, he said, adding that justice has finally been delivered.
On the other side a visibly shaken D P Yadav, father of convict Vikas, said, Injustice has been done to our innocent children...we will approach the High Court for justice. He alleged that key witness Ajay Katara was planted by the prosecution and was won over. Ajay got a cinema hall in Panipat, a gas agency in Gurgaon in the deal.
We want the courts to take the sting operation into account, he said. D P Yadav added the case was meant to target him politically. They are trying to destroy my family. My political career has been destroyed, he said.
G K Bharti, counsel for Yadavs, said It seems that the trial court has given this verdict under some pressures from some quarter and that they will now appeal in the higher courts.