Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy pleas of four Veerappan associates

The four associates of Veerappan were accused of killing 21 policemen in a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993.

CHENNAI: President Pranab Mukherjee, on Wednesday, rejected the mercy petitions of four Veerappan associates, sentenced to death for killing 21 policemen in a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993, according to a Times of India report.

Advocate S Balamurugan, appearing for the accused was quoted by the newspaper as saying, "We have received information from reliable sources that the message has been sent to Belgaum jail authorities and apparently it has also been conveyed to the prisoners."

The four accused, Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran, were later sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in January 2004.

The accused were earlier sentenced to only life imprisonment by the Mysore Court but they were then awarded death sentence as the government later approached the apex court.

Mukherjee, who rejected their mercy pleas pending since 2004, has already equalled the record of his immediate predecessor, Pratibha Patil, who rejected three mercy petitions in her five years in office. She granted 19 clemency requests.

Mukherjee has rejected three mercy petitions hitherto in the seven months of being in office, the last one that of Afzal Guru who was hanged on Saturday.

The Indian President signed the file rejecting Afzal Guru's mercy petition last Sunday, the same day that he put his stamp on the ordinance that provides for death for killer rapists.

Ajmal Kasab's was the first mercy plea he rejected, on November 5. The Pakistani gunman was hanged on November 21.

The second was that of Saibanna Ningappa Natikar, on January 4. Saibanna was convicted for the murder of his first wife. While on parole in September 1994, suspecting the fidelity of his second wife, he killed her and his daughter and attempted to commit suicide. He is lodged in a Karnataka jail. (With inputs from Agencies)


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