President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the mercy petition of one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape case. Sources say that the Rashtrapati Bhavan has communicated the decision of the President to the Union Home Ministry.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier in the day forwarded the mercy petition of convict Mukesh Singh to the President, recommending its rejection, officials had said.
A local court earlier issued death warrants against Mukesh Singh (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) and set January 22 as the date of their execution. However, the execution did not happen on this date as the Supreme Court has ordered that convict should be given at least 14 days after his mercy petition is rejected.
With Assembly elections round the corner, the delay in execution has triggered a political war of words, with the BJP accusing the AAP government of doing nothing in the past two-and-half years after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal against the death penalty.
While senior BJP leader and union Minister Prakash Javdekar blames AAP government for negligence in the result, AAP leader Sanjay Singh has put the blame on Central government and has asked BJP to apologise for misleading the people on such a sensitive topic.
While Nirbhaya’s mother holds AAP responsible for delay in justice, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “Give us Delhi Police and law-and-order responsibility for two days and we will hang Nirbhaya’s convicts”.