New Delhi: A Delhi court has issued a fresh death warrant for the four men on death row in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case, scheduling their execution for 6am on February 1.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora was hearing a plea by one of the four death row convicts in the case, Mukesh Kumar Singh, seeking postponement of the date of his execution scheduled for January 22.
Earlier in the day, the Tihar jail authorities sought issuance of fresh death warrants against the four convicts.
Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed told the court that Mukesh's mercy plea was rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
The 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gang raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
A total of six people — Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Ram Singh and a juvenile — were named accused in the case.
Pawan Gupta, meanwhile, has moved the Supreme Court, claiming he was a juvenile in 2012 and should be tried accordingly. Gupta has challenged Delhi high court order of December 19, his lawyer AP Singh said.
The savagery of the crime shook the nation and led to country-wide protests over the issue of women's safety and seeking speedy trial of the accused. The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March, 2013.
Prime accused Ram Singh committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. The juvenile accused in the case, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years. He was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. The juvenile, when released, was 20-years-old.
Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were convicted and sentenced to death in September, 2013. They were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail, a Delhi court had announced on January 7 while issuing their death warrants. However, the Delhi government informed the high court during a hearing that the execution of the convicts will not take place on the designated day as a mercy plea had been filed by Mukesh.
"The Home Ministry has forwarded the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh to the president. The Ministry has reiterated the recommendation of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for its rejection," a Home Ministry official said on Friday morning.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's office sent Mukesh Singh's mercy petition to the Home Ministry on Thursday, a day after the Delhi government recommended its rejection.