The Delhi High Court has granted custody parole to Sukhdev Yadav alias Pehalwan, serving a 20-year jail term without remission for the murder of business executive Nitish Katara in 2002, to attend the marriage of his daughter.
Justice Anu Malhotra allowed Sukhdev Yadav to go to Kushinagar to attend his daughter’s wedding, scheduled on December 6, and other related functions in custody parole for five days.
The high court directed the jail personnel to take him to his native place where the marriage is scheduled and to bring him back on expiry of custody parole.
Sukhdev Yadav had urged the court to release him on parole.
However, the court said the allegations of animosity alleged by the witness cannot be ignored and did not grant him that relief.
Advocate Kanhaiya Singhal, representing Sukhdev Yadav, said he has challenged the Delhi government’s Home Department order rejecting his application for grant of parole.
He said the convict was earlier also granted parole in 2019 for the purpose of making arrangements for fixing daughter’s marriage and he had not misused the liberty.
The counsel for State and Nitish Katara’s mother Nilam Katara opposed the parole plea saying the accused has already been granted the relief for making arrangements for his daughter’s marriage and if at all the court wanted to consider, he should be granted only custody parole.
Eye witness in the case, Ajay Katara, also opposed the plea saying in November, his wife was attacked and he has been implicated in 24 criminal cases, including gangrape and molestation, allegedly at the behest of father of convict Vikas Yadav and politician DP Yadav’s gang.
Advocate Pradeep Dey, representing Nilam Katara, submitted that threat perception to both Nilam and Ajay continues till date and they both have been provided with security.
On October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court had awarded a 25-year jail term without any benefit of remission to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal for their role in the sensational kidnapping and killing of Nitish Katara. Co-convict Sukhdev Yadav was also handed down a 20-year jail term in the case.
Prior to this, the Delhi High Court, while upholding the life imprisonment awarded to Vikas and Vishal Yadav by the trial court, had specified a 30-year sentence, without any remission, to both of them. It had awarded a 25-year jail term to third convict Sukhdev Yadav.
All three were convicted and sentenced for kidnapping Nitish Katara from a marriage party on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and then killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, the sister of Vikas.
Bharti Yadav is the daughter of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav who is in jail in connection with another murder case.
Nitish Katara was murdered as Vishal and Vikas Yadav did not approve of his affair with Bharti Yadav because they belonged to different castes, the lower court had said in its verdict.