Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Home R. Ashok on Monday justified the rejection of mercy petitions of four Veerappan associates on death row stating that the people of the State would not pardon them for the heinous crime they had perpetrated against the State.

Mr. Ashok, who was here as part of an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Cauvery issue, said that the Karnataka government would put forth its argument in favour of carrying out the death sentence to the four convicts, Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran, when the case came up before the Supreme Court.

‘No change in stand’

“Our stand will not change (regarding death sentence). We have sought for severe punishment to them in the TADA court, High Court and the Supreme Court earlier,” Mr. Ashok added.

Karnataka Law Minister Suresh Kumar too justified capital punishment to the four associates of Veerappan as the people of the State would not forget the atrocities committed by the gang against government officials and the people.

Vakalatnama signed

Meanwhile, Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director of Madurai-based People’s Watch, a Human Rights organisation, which is fighting for the four convicts against death sentence, said that the family members of the convicts had signed the vakalatnama (for fighting their case in the Supreme Court) authorising the advocates to take up the case as the Belgaum jail officials had been denying permission for counsel to meet the condemned prisoners.

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