New Delhi, Jul 12: Sukdev Pehalwan, a henchman of former Rajya Sabha member D P Yadav's son Vikas and nephew Vishal and convicted for abducting and killing business executive Nitish Katara in collusion with the duo in February 2002, was today sentenced to life imprisonment by a Delhi court.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) J R Aryan awarded life term to Pehalwan, brushing aside prosecution's demand for death penalty to him.
“The case of the appellant cannot be said to fall in a category of the rarest of rare,” the court said, rejecting the prosecution's plea for death sentence to him.
“Case of the appellant cannot be taken to fall in a category where murder was committed with a motive which evinced total depravity and meanness, for example, murder by hired assassin for money or reward,” said the judge adding that he can not be said to be “a hired assassin” merely because he was employed in the liquor shop, belonging to the family of the two other convicts Vikas and Vishal.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on Pehalwan after it held him guilty of abduction, murder and destruction of evidence.
The prosecution, while arguing on quantum of sentence, said the case could be treated as ‘honour killing' and the convict should be awarded death penalty. They also referred to the conduct of the convict, who had absconded for three years after carrying out the “ghastly” killing.
“The victim was first abducted, then murdered and thereafter his body was put on flames,” the prosecution said. According to the prosecution, Pehalwan was present with the Yadavs in their car after they had abducted Nitish from a marriage function at Ghaziabad and killed him on the night of February 16, 2002.
He was chargesheeted in April 2006 for murder, abduction and destruction of evidence.
The Yadavs did not approve of the affair of their sister Bharti Yadav with Nitish. PTI