Veerappan's Aides Seek Commutation of Death Sentence

New Delhi
Veerappan's Aides Seek Commutation of Death Sentence

Slain sandalwood smuggler Veerapan's associates today sought commutation of their death sentence to life imprisonment by telling the Supreme Court that there has been an inordinate delay in deciding their mercy plea.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam was hearing arguments on 13 petitions filed by convicts whose execution was stayed by it.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Veerappan's brother and three aides, argued even though another bench of the apex court has decided the issue that death sentence cannot be commuted to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding mercy plea, the larger bench still has the power to commute the capital punishment.

Veerapan's elder brother Gnanaprakash and his aides Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran were awarded death sentence in 2004 in connection with a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993 in which 22 police personnel were killed. Their mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee in February this year.

On February 18, an apex court bench had in an urgent hearing stayed the execution of death sentence of the four convicts.

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