The Supreme Court on Saturday refused an urgent hearing on the plea of four aides of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan seeking a stay of execution of their death penalty reportedly fixed for Sunday, saying there was no proof about it.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who had mentioned the matter at the CJI’s residence, said the Chief Justice did not hear the matter on Saturday evening on the ground that there was no proof that execution will take place on Sunday.
He said the CJI told him that the matter will be taken up for hearing in due course. Gonsalves and his associate advocate Samik Narain said they approached the apex court after getting information that the execution of death penalty will take place on Sunday.
After the mercy petitions were rejected on February 12, a source in Belgaum told Express that jail assistant superintendent Tallur brought the death sentence order from the TADA (now closed) court at Mysore.
The jail has also made all arrangements like carrying out hanging trials, the sources said. “Now we are hoping that the execution will not take place tomorrow,” Gonsalves and Narain said, adding that they will again mention the matter before the court on Monday.
Veerappan’s elder brother Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran were awarded death sentence in 2004 in connection with a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993 in which 22 police personnel were killed.
Their mercy petition was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 13.
The four convicts are lodged in Hindalaga Jail in Belgaum - the only jail in the state where convicts can be hanged. Efforts to reach officials in Belgaum for confirmation proved futile as thier phones were switched off.
Since the jail has no hangman, the jail authorities have asked its retired hangman Siddappa Kamble to carry out the task. Kamble was the only person in the jail who has carried out about 20 hangings. The last hanging in the jail was in 1983.