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Feb 18, 2013 at 01:28pm IST

Supreme Court stays execution of Veerappan's four associates till February 20

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of four aides of the infamous forest brigand Veerappan, who were on death row, till Wednesday. The four associates had approached the apex court seeking commutation of their death sentences.

"The execution of death sentence of four convicts shall remain stayed," a bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and justices AR Dave and Vikramajit Sen said. "Let the writ petition be heard day after tomorrow," it said.

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The petition on behalf of the four convicts was filed by advocate Samik Narain, who was given the liberty to amend and rectify it after objections were raised on its maintainability by Attorney General GE Vahanvati who was asked to assist the court.

The court had on February 13 refused to hear an urgent plea from them. The four associates had moved the Supreme Court against the death penalty on Saturday.

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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.

Recently, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected their mercy plea. Their execution was reportedly scheduled for Sunday morning.

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The four convicts are lodged in a jail in Belgaum in Karnataka. A TADA court in Mysore had in 2001 sentenced them to life term which was enhanced to death sentence by the apex court. Gang leader Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Tamil Nadu police in October 2004.

(With Additional Inputs From PTI)

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