President Ram Nath Kovind rejects Nirbhaya convict’s mercy plea

President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy plea filed by Mukesh Singh, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case hours after it was forwarded to him by the Union Home Ministry.

The petition, which represented Mukesh Singh’s final appeal before his execution, was filed Tuesday after the Supreme Court dismissed curative petitions that filed by him and Vinay Sharma, another convict.

Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta were to be hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail at 7 am on January 22, the trial court judge had declared last week, signing a death warrant seven years after a young medical student was gang-raped on a moving bus, tortured and killed.

However, on Thursday, five days before the scheduled execution, Tihar officials asked for a new date, saying the executions could not take place till after all mercy pleas were settled.

The three other convicts are yet to file their respective mercy petitions, following the rejection of which a convict is given a 14-day period of reprieve before the execution.

On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped and tortured on a moving bus before being dumped on a road in south Delhi. The woman, who came to be known as “Nirbhaya”, died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.

Six men were arrested for the horrifying assault. A fifth accused, Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail during the trial and the sixth man, a few months short of 18 at the time of the incident, was released after three years in a reform facility.

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