Vikas, Vishal Yadav held guilty for Katara murder (Roundup)

May 28th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Six years after the brutal murder of Delhi boy Nitish Katara, a city court Wednesday held influential Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav’s son Vikas Yadav and nephew Vishal Yadav guilty, bringing relief to the victim’s mother who had waged a lone battle for justice. The courtroom was packed as Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur announced the verdict in the high-profile case and held the cousins guilty of murder, kidnapping and destruction of evidence.

The quantum of sentence, which could range from life imprisonment to death penalty, will be pronounced Friday.

The prosecution held that the cousins had killed Nitish, son of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, on the night of Feb 16-17, 2002 as they did not approve his close ties with Vikas’ sister Bharti.

Nitish was kidnapped and murdered after he attended a wedding in Ghaziabad that night. His body was found in a village in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.

The judgement that ran into approximately 1,100 pages stated: “The relationship between the two was not mere friendship, it had ballooned into a love affair and showed that they wanted to marry.”

Remarking that Bharti’s deposition in the court was crucial, the judge observed: “I feel her conduct… did not (do) justice to the soul of the deceased without whom she had claimed she could not survive.”

Bharti, now based in Britain, had avoided court summons apparently under family pressure, before deposing before it.

She tried to make a “balanced statement” in the court as she had already lost Nitish and did not want to lose her brother, the judge noted.

“From the conduct of the accused persons, the inference can be drawn that they were aware of the relationship between the two and Vikas did not appear in the court on both days when Bharti was examined though he was present in the lock-up.

“This shows that he had the knowledge of the relationship between the two and had no courage to face Bharti,” the judge said.

The verdict came as relief for the victim’s mother who had fought for justice against the powerful Yadav family.

“I thank god and the media for helping me out in this long battle. This is a landmark judgement and my belief in the judicial system has increased,” Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara told IANS.

D.P. Yadav, an Uttar Pradesh legislator and former Rajya Sabha member, said: “Injustice has been done to my innocent kids. Some rich, powerful people and bureaucrats have done this.”

Special Public Prosecutor B.S. Joon said he would demand death penalty for the accused.

On the other hand, defence counsel G.K. Bharti said they would appeal in the higher court as the case was based on circumstantial evidence.

“The media has played a negative role against us but we will approach the Delhi High Court for justice,” Bharti told reporters minutes after the verdict.

The judgement agreed to the prosecution version apart from raising doubts over the fingerprints and its examination. The prosecution examined 71 witnesses to prove its case.

The defence had made several attempts to delay the judgement.

The accused approached the Delhi High Court Tuesday, appealing against the trial court order dismissing an application seeking a stay on the judgement and re-examination of key witness Ajay Katara - no relative of the Katara family - who saw the body in Bulandshahr.

A high court bench of Justices Manmohan Sarin and Manmohan passed the plea to a single-judge bench, to be heard early Wednesday morning. But the verdict came before that, much to the chagrin of the Yadav family.

Judge Kaur gave her ruling after questioning Vishal’s counsel on whether he was able to obtain a stay from the Delhi High Court. He told her that the hearing was scheduled to take place any time soon, but the judge refused to stay the judgement and held them guilty.

The trial court had Tuesday rejected an application from the Yadavs raising objections on the affidavit Ajay Katara filed Saturday.

Ajay had affirmed the authenticity of a sting operation carried out by a newspaper. In the sting, Ajay was shown saying he never saw Vikas and Vishal taking away Nitish from a marriage party. The witness, however, said in the affidavit that he was under the influence of alcohol when he spoke to the undercover reporter.

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