Two cousins, Vikas and Vishal Yadav, >abducted Nitish Katara from the wedding of his classmate in Ghaziabad in February 2002.
They had observed Katara, an MBA graduate and the son of an IAS officer, getting friendly with Vikas’ sister Bharti Yadav, and were allegedly opposed to it.
With the help of a hired killer, Sukhdev Pehalwan, the duo “ took him (Nitish Katara) home, then god knows where, killed him and dumped his body” — >according to Supreme Court Justice J.S. Khehar’s observation .
Vikas Yadav is the son of Uttar Pradesh politician D.P. Yadav, while Vishal is D.P. Yadav’s nephew. The Delhi High Court had sentenced the two Yadavs and Pehalwan to a 30-year jail term without remission.
The murder was considered an honour killing, but a Supreme Court bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar said the crime can neither be classified as an honour killing nor be in the category of the rarest of rare crime warranting death penalty.
“It may be a planned murder but it certainly is not heinous. And every murder is planned. Tell us which murder is not planned? If it is not planned, strictly speaking it will not be murder. If it is in heat of the moment, it will come under exception clause of Section 300 (murder),” >Justice Khehar had observed .
Here’s how the case unfolded:
Feb 16-17, 2002: Vikas and Vishal Yadav abduct Nitish Katara from a wedding function in Ghaziabad late at night. They allegedly disapproved of Nitish's intimacy with their sister Bharti.
March 31, 2002: Uttar Pradesh police file four-page charge sheet in the murder case
April 22, 2002: Vishal and Vikas arrested from Madhya Pradesh
April 22, 2002: After victim's mother, Neelam Katara fears miscarriage of justice, Supreme Court directs that the case be transferred from a sessions court to be heard by a competent court of similar jurisdiction in Delhi
November 23, 2002 : Separate trial launched against third accused in the murder case, Sukhdev Pehalwan, who was arrested in 2005
April 23, 2003: Court summons Bharti Yadav, who had been in the U.K. since the death of Nitish Katara,for recording her statement
November 25, 2006: After three years of unheeded notices and summonses, Bharti Yadav returns to India after the court threatens to declare her as a proclaimed offender
December 2007: Prosecution determines Bharti's alleged closeness with Nitish as Vikash and Vishal's murder motive
April 2, 2008: Trial court begins hearing Nitish Katara murder case on day-to-day basis
April 23, 2008: Trial comes to an end
May 30, 2008: Court finds Vikas and Vishal guilty, sentences them to life in prison.
July 12, 2008: Sukhdev Pehalwan sentenced to life imprisonment too by a Delhi court
April 2, 2014: Delhi High Court upholds trial court verdict of life terms for Yadav brothers and contract killer Sukhdev Pehalwan.
February 6, 2015: Delhi HC awards Vikas and Vishal life terms of 25 years without remission and Sukhdev Pehalwan gets 20 years life imprisonment without remission.
October 9, 2015: The Supreme Court declines plea by Neelam Katara to award death sentence to the Yadav duo.
October 3, 2016: The Supreme Court awards a 25-year jail term to Vishal Yadav and a 20-year term to Sukhdev Pehalwan.