President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday rejected the mercy petition of Pawan Gupta, one of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case, ANI reported. Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta were scheduled to be hanged at Tihar Jail in Delhi on Tuesday at 6 am.
A court in Delhi on Monday stayed their execution till further orders. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had deferred the matter after Gupta filed the mercy petition before Kovind earlier in the day. His lawyer had requested the court to stop the execution citing the petition.
Soon after the petition was rejected, the woman’s father expressed hope that the execution will take place this month. “We are hopeful that the convicts will be hanged this month and justice will be finally delivered to us after a long wait,” he said, according to PTI. “He has one option left, that is to challenge the mercy plea in Supreme Court as the others have done.”
The four convicts were given the death penalty, first by a trial court in September 2013, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later,and the Supreme Court in May 2017.
The death warrants were first issued for January 22, and then postponed to February 1 because of the mercy pleas filed by two of the convicts. Gupta was the only one among the four convicts who had not availed of the legal remedies. His counsel had told a sessions court in Delhi earlier this that he could not avail any legal remedy as his earlier lawyer did not meet him during the seven-day period granted by the Delhi High Court.
The four men, along with two others, raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. The gangrape triggered huge protests in the Capital and across the country. One convict died in prison, while a minor convict was sent to a detention home for juveniles and was released in December 2015.