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How Manu's acquittal killed Nitish Katara
A Delhi court on Wednesday held Vikas, son of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav, and his cousin Vishal guilty for the murder of Nitish Katara.
The court is likely to pronounce the quantum of sentence, which may range from life term to the death penalty, on Friday.
Vikas and Vishal were convicted on the charges of murder, abduction and destruction of evidence in the case.
The court rejected the convicts' contention that the Delhi High Court is scheduled to hear their plea at 10.30 am, on the ground that the trial court proceedings have not been stayed.
The judge posed a query to defence counsel G K Bharti as to whether the High Court had stayed the proceedings in this court.
Finding the reply in the negative, the court straight away pronounced the verdict, saying, "I hold Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav guilty under Section 302, 364, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code."
Vikas and his cousin were then taken away to the lock-up.
Vikas had on Tuesday moved the High Court after the Additional Sessions Judge dismissed his fresh application seeking to re-examine key witness Ajay Katara and others in the light of a CD, allegedly pointing towards a nexus between the witness and Nitish's mother Neelam Katara, who is the complainant in the case.
The High Court was to hear the matter today.
Reacting sharply to the turn of events, counsel for Vikas, G K Bharti said, "It seems that the trial court has given this verdict under some pressure from some quarters."
Senior advocate Balgopal, who was appearing for Vikas, said, "As of now, we have not received a copy of verdict. We will decide on filing the appeal only after we get to know about the reasons given by the court for convicting the accused."
Vikas, sporting blue jeans and white shirt, looked unfazed by the unfolding of events in the courtroom and was swiftly taken away by police personnel.
His cousin Vishal, who remained out on bail during the trial, was immediately taken into custody after the pronouncement of the judgment.
Katara, a 24-year-old business executive and son of a senior bureaucrat in Delhi, was involved in a relationship with Vikas's sister Bharati. The Yadav family reportedly did not approve of their relationship.
Katara's battered and bruised body was found in the early hours of February 17, 2002.
Hailing the judgment, Katara's mother Neelam said, "I am thankful to God, the judiciary and the people of this country, who stood by me. This verdict will change the judicial system of India."
She also extended her thanks to the media, saying, "You people have supported me for a just cause and I believe this will ensure that no other son of any mother has to meet such a fate."
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