SC stays Veerapan associates’ execution


New Delhi, Feb 18: The Supreme Court has stayed till further orders execution of four accomplices of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan who was killed by police in an encounter 2004. They were awarded capital punishment in 2004 for a landmine blast in Karnataka that had left 22 police personnel dead.
The Apex Court will hear the matter on Wednesday. “In the meantime, the execution of death sentence of four convicts shall remain stayed,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen said.
“Let the writ petition be heard day after tomorrow,” it said.
The petition on behalf of the four convicts was filed by advocate Samik Narain, who was given the liberty to amend and rectify it after objections were raised on its maintainability by Attorney General G E Vahanvati who was asked to assist the court.
Earlier this week, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the mercy petitions of the four convicts — Veerappan’s elder brother Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran.
In Chennai, human rights activists appealed to the prison authorities to stay the execution. The lawyers were reportedly prevented from meeting the four accused at Belgaum jail.
The convicts are presently lodged in a jail in Belgaum, Karnataka.
The Centre, represented by Attorney General GE Vahanvati, opposed the request to stay or suspend the death sentence for Veerappan’s men arguing that the landmine blast was a crime against the state.
A bench of two Judges is already hearing a similar matter. Three people sentenced to death for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, have asked the Supreme Court to commute their sentence to life because it took 11 years for their mercy petition to be rejected.
Veerappan, who killed nearly 180 people, most of them police and forest officials, was killed in a police encounter in Tamil Nadu/Karnataka in 2004.  Security forces had been trying to catch him for nearly two decades.
His wife, V Muthulakshmi, who was arrested in the landmine case and later acquitted, has spoken in support of the four men on death row.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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