Mercy petitions of six death row convicts including Surinder Koli, found guilty in the sensational Nithari serial rapes and killings, have been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Besides Koli, mercy pleas of Renukabai and Seema (Maharashtra), Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik (Maharashtra), Jagdish (Madhya Pradesh) and Holiram Bordoloi (Assam) have been rejected following recommendations of the Home Ministry, official sources said.
42-year-old Koli, who brutally killed and later axed children in Nithari locality of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, was awarded death sentence by a lower court which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court and confirmed by the Supreme Court in February 2011.
In a case that outraged the nation, Koli was found guilty of serial rapes and murders between 2005 and 2006 at his employer businessman Moninder Singh Pandher’s house in Nithari. Remains of several missing children were found near the house.
While 16 cases were filed against Koli, he has been awarded death sentence in four of them so far and others are still under trial. Sisters Renukabai and Seema along with their mother and another accomplice Kiran Shinde, kidnapped 13 children between 1990 to 1996 and killed nine of them. However, the prosecution could prove only five murders. The two sisters were given death sentence.
The case against the mother had to be abated as she died in 1997 while Shinde turned an approver in the case. The two sisters used to kidnap children from localities of poor people in the areas of their operation and force them to commit thefts, lift goods and snatch chains.
But when the children grew old enough to understand things, they were brutally killed. Some were found with their heads smashed, strangulated, thrashed with iron rods and thrown on railway tracks.
The Supreme Court had confirmed the death penalty of the two sisters on August 31, 2006. In January, the Supreme Court had ruled that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in hanging are grounds for commuting a convict’s death penalty and had spared 15 death row convicts from execution.
The third case pertains to the gruesome killing of a girl child in village Asra of Maharashtra in which the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Wasnik in October 2012 for sexually abusing and murdering the victim.
The President also rejected mercy petition of Jagdish who was convicted for murdering his wife and five children (four daughters and a son, all aged between one and 16 years).
He was sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge of Manasa on April 24, 2006. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2009. Jagdish submitted that he was in an unsound state of mind and that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment as the capital punishment was not executed for over three years.
However, the apex court said that in continued…