President Pratibha Patil has rejected the mercy petitions of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar of Punjab and Mahendra Nath Das of Assam following the recommendations from the Union Home Ministry, sources in the Ministry said.

This is for the first time since 2004, when the go ahead has been given for the execution of Dhanjay Chatterjee, that the President has given the nod for any execution.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan declined to comment.

Bhullar was sentenced to death by a trial court on August 25, 2001, for plotting terror attacks on Punjab SSP Sumedh Singh Saini in 1991 and the then Youth Congress president M.S. Bitta in 1993 leading to several deaths in Delhi.

A couple of days ago, Bhullar’s advocate K.T.S. Tulsi had urged in the Supreme Court that either his mercy petition should be decided expeditiously or alternatively his death sentence be commuted.

The President has also rejected the mercy petition of Das who has been found guilty of murdering one Hara Kanta Das.

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