The Supreme Court on Tuesday commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, most of them on grounds of a delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions. A look at the cases leading to their sentencing, and how long they spent on death row.
They killed 8 of their own, then spent 12 years in uncertainty: Sonia & Sanjeev – On August 23, 2001, her 19th birthday, Sonia and her husband Sanjeev murdered eight members of her family. She believed she was being cut off from the family property, said to be worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
Four Veerappan gangsters who aged in prison: A Simon, Gnanaprakasam, M Bilavendran and Mesekara Madiah – They were tried and convicted as members of the sandalwood gang led by the late Veerappan in the Sathyamangalam forest that spreads across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Relatives, however, claim that the four were innocent villagers.
Crimes of Passion: Gurmeet Singh &Jafar Ali – Gurmeet is convicted of killing 13 members of his family in Pilibhit in August 1986. It was a murder driven by anger because Gurmeet’s family did not approve of his friendship with Lakha Singh. The two eventually committed the murders together. Lodged in Fatehgarh central jail, Jafar Ali, now 50, suspected his wife of an extramarital relationship and murdered not only her but their five children too, slitting their throats at their house at Etawaha in July 2002.
A gambler, two rapists and five murders for property: Praveen Kumar, Shivu Munishetty, Jadeswamy Rangashetty Suresh, and Ramji Chauhan – Praveen Kumar, now 55, of Mangalore was convicted of murdering four of his relatives for their jewellery to repay a gambling debt. Shivu Munishetty, 31, and Jadeswamy Rangashetty, 25, of Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district, were convicted in the 2001 rape and murder of an 18-year-old and sentenced to death on October 15, 2001. Suresh, 60, and Ramji Chauhan, 45, hail from Varanasi. They are brothers-in-law, Suresh having married Ramji’s sister.
Relief on grounds of mental health: Maganlal Barela & Sundar Singh – In the remoteness of his forest home near Kaneria village, 85 km from Bhopal, Barela had hacked to death his five daughters, aged six to one, in a fit of frenzy on June 11, 2010. n Meharghetti village of what is now Uttarakhand, Sundar Singh killed five relatives — cousin Pratap Singh and his family — in 1989. It was over a small plot of land that each cousin wanted as his share.