New Delhi: Vikas Yadav, who was awarded a life sentence in the high-profile Nitish Katara murder case has approached the Supreme Court and asked for his case to be transferred out of Delhi.
He has said that there is too much of a media trial in the Capital, which is influencing the outcome of his case. The accused has suggested Jodhpur as option.
Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatagi, appearing for Vikas Yadav, made the allegation before the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam.
Though the judges told the petitioner's counsel that media was everywhere and would be tough to avoid even outside Delhi, they directed the Government counsel to file a response to the petition seeking transfer of the appeal to any High Court outside Delhi.
Kamini Jaiswal, counsel for Neelam Katara - Nitish Katara's mother - however, opposed the petition on the grounds that allegations against media were being made without making any television channel or newspaper party to the petition and the right to information was integral part of fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression in the country.
The apex court meanwhile has issued notices to the Delhi and UP governments and has granted them three weeks time to file their response.
According to the prosecution, Katara, a business executive, was killed by the accused, as they did not approve of their sister, Bharti Yadav’s growing proximity with him. The brothers allegedly bludgeoned him with a hammer and then poured kerosene on him and burnt him alive.
On May 28 2008, the Yadav cousins were pronounced guilty for the kidnapping and murder of Katara six years ago. They were also declared guilty of destruction of evidence. They were held guilty under Section 302, 364, 201 and 34 of the IPC.
Two days later, the quantum of the punishment was announced and the duo were sentenced to life imprisonment. They were also fined Rs 1.6 lakh each.
|NITISH KATARA MURDER: THE CASE SO FAR|
|February 16-17, 2002: Nitish Katara was allegedly murdered by Vikas and Vishal Yadav, after being abducted from a marriage party in Ghaziabad during the night. Nitish was killed for his alleged affair with Vikas’s sister Bharati. Bharati Yadav, who was listed as prime witness by the persecution left for London soon after.|
|February 20, 2002: The body of Nitish Katara was discovered from village Khurja in Bulandshahr.|
|March 11, 2002: The Tata Safari used in the murder was recovered from G T Road, Karnal.|
|March 31, 2002: UP police filed a four page chargesheet.|
|April 23, 2002: Both the accused Vikas and Vishal Yadav were arrested from Madhya Pradesh.|
|November 23, 2002: Charges were framed against the three accused. A separate trial was started against a third accused in the case, Sukhdev Pehlwan, who was arrested in 2005. The trial in Sukhdev's case is at the stage of prosecution evidence.|
|August 23, 2002: The Supreme Court directed transfer of the Nitish Katara murder case from a Ghaziabad sessions court to a competent court of the same jurisdiction in Delhi.|
|November 25, 2006: Prime witness Bharti Yadav returns to India. The prosecution had wrapped up their final arguments in the case in December 2007.||April 2, 2008: Trial court begins hearing the Nitish Katara murder case on a day-to-day basis.|
|April 23, 2008: The trial in the Nitish Katara murder case came to an end.|