President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy plea of four Veerappan associates
After Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru, President Pranab Mukherjee has reportedly rejected the mercy petition of four close associates of the late dreaded bandit Veerappan, who were on death row since 2004 for killing 22 policemen in a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993.
Speaking to Express, People’s Union for Civil Liberties’ General Secretary S Balamurugan said Belgaum jail authorities had confirmed on Wednesday morning the rejection of the mercy plea of Simon, Gnana Prakash, Madaiah and Bilavendra. However, he said family members of the convicts are yet to get written communication from jail authorities.
“Some jail authorities told the prisoners about communication received from New Delhi, who in turn informed a visitor. Confirmation came from jail authorities and we are moving the Karnataka High Court against the decision. Family members of all four on death row are based in remote areas and I couldn’t contact them this evening to confirm if they received any letter by this evening,” Balamurugan told Express.
However, officials in the President’s office and Ministry of Home Affairs refused to formally confirm the rejection of the mercy plea.
An official said the file of the four was reviewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs on May 16, 2011 and it was returned to the President’s office on May 25, 2011 during former President Pratibha Patil’s tenure.