12 years after Nitish Katara was kidnapped and murdered, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of three persons, including Vikas Yadav, son of politician D P Yadav, for the “honour killing”. Following is the chronology of events:
Feb 16-17, 2002: Vikas and Vishal Yadav allegedly abduct Nitish Katara from a wedding of his classmate Shivani Gaur in Ghaziabad on the night of February 16, 2002. They allegedly kill Nitish for his intimacy with Bharti Yadav.
Feb 20: The burnt body of Nitish Katara is found near Hapur crossing in a village Khurja in Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh. The Police find Vikas and Vishal as immediate suspect. Bharti leaves for the United Kingdom.
Mar 11: The Tata Safari, which was used in the murder, is recovered from G T Road, Karnal.
Mar 31: The UP Police files a four page charge sheet in the murder case.
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Apr 23: The police arrest both the accused Vikas and Vishal from Madhya Pradesh.
Aug 23: The Supreme Court directs transfer of Nitish Katara murder case from a Ghaziabad sessions court to a competent court of the same jurisdiction in Delhi when mother of the victim, Neelam Katara, appealed that she feared miscarriage of justice in Ghaziabad.
Nov 23: Court frames charges against the accused in the murder case. A separate trial starts against the third accused in the case, Sukhdev Pehalwan, who was arrested in 2005.
Apr 7, 2003: First summon issued for Bharti by court requiring her presence for recording her statement.
Nov 25, 2006: After three years of notice and summons, the prime witness in the murder case Bharti Yadav returns to India when the court threatens to declare her a proclaimed offender.
Dec 2007: Prosecution wraps up their final arguments in the case and claims Bharti’s alleged proximity to Nitish is the cause for the murder of Nitish by Vikas and Vishal.
Apr 2, 2008: Trial court begins hearing the murder case on a day-to-day basis.
Apr 23: Trial concludes in the case.
May 27: Court fixes May 28 for pronouncement of verdict.
May 28: Trial court finds both Vikas and Vishal guilty in Nitish Katara murder case.
May 30: Court sentences both the convicts to life term.
July 1: Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara approaches Delhi High Court seeking death penalty for Vikas and Vishal.
Sept 5: Vikas and Vishal files appeal in high court challenging the trial court verdict.
Jul 6, 2011: Trial court convicts Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case.
Jul 10: Court awards life imprisonment to Sukhdev.
Apr 16, 2013: High court reserves its judgement on appeals filed by Neelam, three convicts and prosecution.
Apr 2, 2014: High court upholds conviction of Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev, says it was a case of honour killing. High Court fixes Apr 25 to hear arguments on quantum of punishment.