The Supreme Court has refused urgent hearing on the plea of four aides of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan seeking stay of execution of their death penalty reportedly fixed for Sunday, saying there was no proof about it.
The court said on Saturday that the petition, filed by advocate Shamik Narain on behalf of the four, can be heard at a later date. (Watch
"Well, we filed the case, Article 32 petition for a stay on execution because we received information from inside the jail that the gallows are being prepared for their execution tomorrow morning. And there is high security around the prison today. On that basis, we moved the Supreme Court today and I am informed that the court will not hear the petition and the reason given is that there is no evidence that they are going to be hanged tomorrow, it is only hearsay," Colin Gonsalves, Advocate for petitioners, told NDTV yesterday.
The four convicts - Veerappan's elder brother Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran - have been on death row since 2004, when the Supreme Court sentenced them to death for killing 22 policemen and forest personnel from Tamil Nadu in a landmine blast at Palar, Karnataka.
Their mercy petitions were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday.
The four convicts are lodged in a jail in Belgaum, Karnataka.
A court in Mysore had in 2001 sentenced them to life term, which was enhanced to death penalty by the Supreme Court. Their gang leader, Veerappan, was killed in a gun battle with the Tamil Nadu police in 2004.
The President's refusal to commute their sentence to life came within days of his rejecting the mercy petition of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001. Guru was hanged at Delhi's Tihar Jail on February 9.