The high court Friday awarded 25 years jail to the Yadavs for the murder and five years for destruction of evidence. The two sentences will run consecutively. The court also imposed a fine of Rs.54 lakh each on the cousins. Pehalwan was sentenced to 25 years in jail with a fine of Rs.20,000. The bench said the convicts will have to undergo the punishment without any remission.
The counsels of Vikas and Vishal said they would approach the Supreme Court against the judgment.
Observing that 13 years have been passed when the incident took place, the court said the long incarceration has had little impact on the Yadav brothers who have neither "remorse nor repentance for their actions". Refusing to show leniency, the court held that it was a "cold blooded murder" and "an act of honour killing". "The murder was not an ordinary murder. It was an honour killing which was executed with extreme vengeance. The crime was certainly not a result of emotional disturbance."
"The depravity in the mindset and planning of the crimes, brutality in its execution, post crime conduct during investigation and trial detailed the point to one essential fact that a life sentence which means only 14 years of imprisonment is grossly inadequate in the present cases and that these defendants do not deserve to remission of the life sentence imposed on them."
The bench found that Katara's family is entitled to exemplary compensation on account of cold blooded murder. Neelam Katara, who had sought the death sentence for the three killers, will get Rs.40 lakh as compensation from the Yadav brothers, the bench said in the 594-page judgement. In her reaction, she said: "I respect the judgment... I appreciate they at least agreed to enhance punishment, I am satisfied with that. But I will move Supreme Court."
"I think any numerical value can't compensate the death of my son. It will be injustice for my son if I accept the compensation."
According to the prosecution, Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav killed Katara on the night of Feb 17, 2002, after abducting him from a marriage party in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad as they were opposed to his friendship with their sister Bharti. Vikas and Bharti are children of former parliamentarian D.P. Yadav. Vishal was convicted in 2008 along with Vikas for kidnapping and murdering Katara, son of an Indian Administrative Service officer. In its ruling Friday, the court also said the period spent by Vikas in the All India Institute Of Medical Science Oct 10-Nov 4, 2011, shall not be counted as period spent by him in jail, and also asked him to pay Rs.2.39 lakh to the Delhi government towards the hospital and security charges.
Neelam Katara had alleged that Vikas visited hospitals many times by misusing his financial and political influence. For Vishal, the court said the 320 days which he spent in Batra Hospital shall not be counted as imprisonment and asked him to pay over Rs.15.39 lakh to the Delhi government for the expenditure incurred on him during his seven hospital admissions post conviction. The court, holding the hospital visits and admissions "unwarranted", said both have "manipulated the system deliberately" to go to hospitals in connivance with jail authorities as well as doctors there. It asked the central and the state governments to conduct an inquiry into the convicts' visits to hospitals. The Yadavs had sought a retrial of the case, saying the trial was not conducted in accordance with law.