The convicts were charged with kidnapping Nitish from a wedding ceremony in Ghaziabad and bludgeoning him to death.
Stating that the murder of Nitish Katara comes within the meaning of the expression “honour killing”, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of U.P. politician D.P. Yadav’s son Vikas Yadav, his nephew Vishal Yadav and their employee and co-accused Sukhdev Yadav in the 2002 case.
The convicts were charged with kidnapping Nitish from a wedding ceremony in Ghaziabad and bludgeoning him to death. His body was later found in a badly burnt condition by the road in U.P.
A Division Bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice J.R. Midha upheld the trial court judgment of 2008, admitting the prosecution evidence of the discovery of the body of the victim, his identification by his mother Neelam Katara, matching DNA samples of the parents and the victim, and the discovery of the weapon of offence smeared with blood.
The trial court convicted Sukhdev Yadav in a separate judgment in 2011. The three had challenged their conviction in the High Court.
The Bench said prosecution had been able to prove the motive of the murder as well.
According to the prosecution, the convicts had hammered Nitish to death as they were against Bharti, daughter of D.P. Yadav, continuing her “intimate romantic relationship” with the victim because the two families belong to different castes and classes.
It is on the basis of the motive of the crime that the Bench described the murder as “honour killing”.
The Bench noted that the girl belonged to the Yadav caste while the boy hailed from a Punjabi Katara family. Submitting cards and letters suffused with intimate romantic references exchanged between the victim and the girl, the prosecution argued that Bharti was serious about marrying him.
“I believe the prosecution case… to be true…whereas the entire defence set up by the appellants is not believed to be true and, therefore, disproved,’’ the Bench said in its 1,193-page judgment.
On appeals by Neelam Katara and the prosecution seeking enhancement of the sentence from life imprisonment to death sentence, the Bench said it would take it up for hearing from April 25.