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Jail readies noose, Nirbhaya convicts’ lawyer plans delay

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Jail readies noose, Nirbhaya convicts’ lawyer plans delay

Friday, 24 January 2020 | Staff Reporter | NEW DELHI

With nine days left for their execution, the four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape case are yet to inform the Tihar jail authorities about when they want to meet their families for the last time or whom they want to will their assets and the money that they have earned during their incarceration.

Delhi Prisons authorities have begun preparations for the execution of the four convicts on February 1 and have contracted Pawan, the hangman from Meerut who would be paid Rs 15,000 for each hanging.

Meanwhile, the counsel for the convicts, AP Singh told The Pioneer that options are there before him as Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta’s curative petitions are yet to be filed before the Supreme Court. Once the petitions are filed, the hanging will be stayed till the petitions are decided.

The four convicts, Vinay Shrama (26), Akshay Singh (31), Mukesh Kumar (32) and Pawan Gupta (25), who are lodged in separate cells of Jail No 3 where the execution will take place, are scheduled to be hanged at 6 am on February 1, in case they fail to file the curative petition.

According to AP Singh, Pawan and Akshay still have options to file curative petitions in the Supreme Court. Pawan and Akshay are yet to request for the “Presidential pardon”.

A petition of Pawan claiming to be juvenile at the time of crime was rejected by the Supreme Court recently but the advocate said Pawan is still left with option to move a curative petition in the Supreme Court. The lawyer also claimed that Akshay is also left with option to file curative petition. 

Meanwhile, a senior jail official while elaborating about the procedure before executing death-row convicts said after the death warrants were issued, the convicts were asked when they would like to meet their respective families for the last time and if so, who all do they wish to meet. But none of them have responded yet.

The official said the convicts were also asked if they would want to prepare their will, but they have not responded yet. “The families of all the four convicts are allowed to meet them twice a week but the last date of meeting has not been fixed because they still have not responded,” he said.  

“Dummy execution of the four death-row convicts was performed in the prison last week. The officials recorded the weights of the convicts and then prepared the dummies accordingly with sacks filled with debris and stones,” a senior jail official said.

The execution will take place in Jail No 3, the official said, adding that the Uttar Pradesh Prison authority has confirmed that Pawan jallad from Meerut will be sent to hang the four convicts.

All the four are likely to hanged simultaneously.

The jail authorities were also holding conversations with them on a daily basis to ensure that they were in a good mental state, the official said.

On Wednesday, in a plea filed by the Centre before the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs said heinous crime convicts are taking the judicial process for a ride. They demanded fixing a seven-day deadline for execution of condemned prisoners after issuance of black warrant, amid the delay in the hanging of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape-murder case.

On January 18, following a Delhi High Court direction to take necessary action against the counsel for Nirbhaya convict, Pawan, the Bar Council of Delhi has issued notice to Advocate AP Singh.

The High Court had passed the direction while dismissing Pawan’s plea to establish that he was a juvenile at the time of the commission of offence.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait had concluded that the plea was filed only to delay the execution of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape case. The matter was thereafter placed before the Bar Council of Delhi which issued a notice to AP Singh.

The 23-year-old paramedic student Nirbhaya was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road.

She died on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Ram Singh, one of the six accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail. A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.

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