The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the conviction of Vikas Yadav, son of a politician in Uttar Pradesh; his cousin Vishal Yadav; and an accomplice, Sukhdev Pehelwan, in the 2002 Nitish Katara murder case. The apex court, however, agreed to hear the issue of quantum of punishment in the case, according to reports.
"Nitish has got justice. This is a huge victory. I am vindicated, it's a big day for all of us," Neelam, the mother of Nitish Katara told NDTV. Neelam has fought a long and lonely battle for justice for her son's gruesome killing against one of UP's most influential families.
The apex court said the murder was a "well-planned and executed conspiracy" by the Yadav brothers, according to NDTV.
The 25-year-old Katara was abducted and killed by Vikas and Vishal on the night of February 17, 2002, in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad. The Yadav brothers were convicted in 2008 for the kidnap and murder.
Katara was said to be in a relationship with Bharti Yadav, the sister of Vikas and the daughter of influential politician DP Yadav. The couple were at a wedding when Katara was seen leaving with the Yadavs in an SUV. His charred body was later found near a highway, according to the report.
The Delhi High Court in February turned down a plea for the death penalty to Vikas and his cousin Vishal. But it enhanced their sentence from life imprisonment to 25 years in jail — without remission for the murder charges — and five more years for destruction of evidence.
The court also imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh each on Vikas and Vishal for the murder charges and Rs 4 lakh each for abduction and destruction of evidence charges.
The Yadavs were said to be against Nitish, a business executive and son of a railway officer, dating Bharti. Bharti later denied that she had been involved with Katara. (With additional reporting by PTI)