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Feb 17, 2013 at 10:19am IST

Noose tightens on Veerappan's 4 aides after SC rejects plea against death penalty

Belgaum: Uncertainty remains over the fate of four associates of infamous forest brigand Veerappan on death row after their mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee as well as the Supreme Court. The apex court on Saturday refused to admit their petition amidst speculation that they may be hanged soon.

Their hanging is reportedly imminent after the rejection of their mercy plea. The four, Veerappan's elder brother Gnanaprakash, 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.

A Mysore court had awarded life term to the four. But the Karnataka government appealed against the life term and filed a petition in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court awarded them the death sentence in January 2004. Their mercy pleas had been pending since 2004.

The four are presently lodged in a jail in Belgaum in Karnataka. Gang leader Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Tamil Nadu police in October 2004.

With Additional Inputs from PTI