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May 30, 2008 at 01:16pm IST

Sentencing in Nitish Katara murder case today

New Delhi: For Nitish Katara's mother, Neelam Katara, Friday will be another red letter day. It is the day the court will sentence Vikas and Vishal Yadav — the men convicted for killing her son.

On Wednesday, a city court found the two cousins guilty of the kidnapping and murdering Nitish Katara six years ago. Now, the prosecution plans to demand the death penalty.

Public Prosecutor, B S Joon says, "After examining the verdict, we will ask for the maximum punishment of death sentence. For murder there can be only two sentences, life or death."

For the death penalty, the prosecution must show that the manner in which Nitish was murdered falls into the 'rarest of the rare' category.

Nitish was bludgeoned with a hammer and then his body set on fire, allegedly for having a relationship with Vikas's sister, Bharti.

Nitish's brother, Nitin Katara says, "The most difficult moment came when I had to light the funeral pire for the state that the body was in then."

But for the Katara family, there may be a long way to go yet. It is likely that the case will drag on through the higher courts, with Vikas Yadav's father, D P Yadav, an influential politician, pledging to fight back.

"No one has listened to our side of things so far," D P Yadav had said after the court pronounced the brothers guilty of murder.

The verdict comes after convictions in the Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo cases, cases that have come to represent the struggle between justice and influence.

Jessica Lall was shot dead by Manu Sharma when she refused to serve him a drink at a club in the Capital. Sharma was pronounced gulity and sentenced to life.

Her sister, Sabrina Lall says, "The faith in the judiciary has gone up in recent times."

Ironically, Vikas Yadav was involved in the Jessica Lall murder case too and is already facing a life term.

During sentencing in the Katara case, the court will keep in mind that Vikas was out on bail when Nitish was killed.

(With inputs from Neenaz Ichaporia in New Delhi)

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