Hanging of Abhi’s killers put on hold

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The Supreme Court today put on hold till further order the execution of Vikram Singh alias Vicky and Jasbir Singh, both sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder of Abhi Verma alias Harry, a student of Hoshiarpur’s DAV School, in February 2005.A three-member Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra passed the order after hearing arguments on fresh petitions by the two convicts, contending that the evidence against them should be re-appreciated in the light of an apex court judgment allowing admissibility of electronic evidence. The Bench, which included Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, reserved its ruling.Arguing for Vicky, senior counsel KTS Tulsi said a recorded telephonic conversation pertaining to the ransom demand had confirmed the voice of Jasbir, not of his client, and as such it could not be used against him. He also pleaded that Vicky’s fingerprints on a car used for kidnapping Abhi should not be relied upon as it was his car and was supposed to have his fingerprints. Also, there was confusion over the colour of the car identified by witnesses.Additional Advocate General V Madhukar and complainant’s counsel Abhishek Singh, however, pleaded that there was no apparent error in the verdicts of the Supreme Court, High Court and lower courts and even if the three objections raised by the convicts were allowed, other available evidence was sufficient to justify the death penalty.The SC had rejected the convicts’ appeals, besides their review and curative petitions. Subsequently, the President rejected their mercy pleas, prompting them to approach the SC with new reasons. In Patiala, the jail authorities had made arrangements for executing the death warrants (for October 25) with Meerut jail hangman Pawan reaching the city a few days ago. Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana HC has deferred till November 3 hearing on a petition for commuting the convicts’ death sentence.

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