Convicts’ lawyers, meanwhile, prepare to file writ petition in apex court

While the authorities at the Hindalga Central Prison prepare to take death row convicts Shiv and Jadeswamy to the gallows, following the rejection of their mercy petitions by President Pranab Mukherjee, the convicts’ lawyers are preparing to move the Supreme Court seeking commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment.

A senior official at the jail told The Hindu that an advocate had already obtained signatures of the duo on Friday and he could file a writ petition before the apex court for commutation of the death penalty.

For their part, the authorities have deputed a jailer to obtain death warrant from the District and Sessions Court, Chamarajanagar, which had convicted the duo for rape and murder. As per the procedure, the letter of rejection of mercy petition would be submitted to the court following which the date and time would be fixed for execution of the death penalty. The family members of both convicts have been informed about the rejection of the mercy petition through the police official concerned in Chamarajanagar district, officials said.

No word yet

But, official sources in the District and Sessions Court told The Hindu over the telephone that so far (till evening on Saturday) no official from the Hindalga jail had come there. The President had rejected the clemency petitions of Shivu, son of Munishetty, and Jadeswamy, son of Rangashetty, who were convicted for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old girl in Bhadrayanahalli, their native village, in Kollegal taluk on October 15, 2001.

Veerappan’s associates

It may be mentioned here that the President had also rejected the mercy petitions of four persons — Simon, Gnanaprakash, Meesakara Madaiah and Bilavendra — associates of slain forest brigand Veerappan, who were convicted for killing 21 persons in a landmine blast in Palar, and incarcerated in the Hindalga jail since February 10, 2004.

However, the Supreme Court, on February 18 this year, granted a stay on execution on a writ petition challenging the President’s rejection and seeking commutation of death sentence into life imprisonment.

Sources said that as of now, the Hindalga jail, the only one in the State with facility for hanging, houses 36 convicts facing death penalty. The last execution carried out there was of Hanumant Malla, who was convicted of five murders, in 1983.

No official hangman

However, as there was no hangman at the jail, four of the jail staff had been trained to carry out executions, Assistant Superintendent of the prison C.R. Tallur said. He added that they were yet to get the death warrant (as of Saturday evening).

Veerabhadra Swamy, Chief Superintendent of Hindalga prison, declined to share any information following a direction from the government.

More In: Karnataka | National