Hangman performs dummy hanging of 4 Nirbhaya convicts. Execution in Tihar on Friday

Hangman Pawan Jallad on Wednesday conducted a dummy hanging of the four Nirbhaya case convicts as their execution in Tihar jail on Friday is all but certain after three postponements with the Delhi High Court rejecting yet another plea by of one of them.

Pawan reached the capital from Meerut on Tuesday and conducted the mock execution to test the Manila ropes, which will be used to hang the four convicts, jail officials said.

It will be for the first time in the history of Tihar Jail– the largest prison complex in South Asia–that four convicts will be hanged at the same time for the same crime.

Pawan, who is a third-generation hangman, had earlier said his grandfather had carried out the hanging of two men–Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh–in connection with the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi besides notorious criminals Ranga and Billa.

On March 5, a trial court issued fresh death warrants for March 20 at 5.30 am as the fresh date for the execution of Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).

The death warrants have been deferred by a court thrice on the grounds that the convicts had not exhausted all their legal remedies and that the mercy petition of one or the other was before the President.

A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless), was gang raped and savagely assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. She died in a Singapore hospital after battling for life for a fortnight.

Six people, including the four convicts and a juvenile, were named as accused.

Ram Singh, the sixth accused, allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail days after the trial began in the case while the juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed Mukesh Kumar’s plea challenging a trial court order which rejected his claim he was not in the national capital when the offence was committed on December 16, 2012.

Justice Brijesh Sethi said there were no grounds to interfere in the detailed and reasoned order of the trial court.

The high court further said there was nothing on record to suggest that the trial in the case stood vitiated due to concealment of any material evidence.

“There is, thus, no infirmity, illegality or irregularity in the order passed by the trial court,” it said and dismissed Mukesh’s plea.

Meanwhile, three of the four convicts sought a stay on their death penalty, saying the second mercy plea of two of them is still pending.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana issued notices to the Tihar jail authorities and the police on the plea and said he will hear it tomorrow.

The judge then asked advocate A P Singh, appearing for the three convicts, as to why he was filing the application at the end of the working day when he knew there was only one day left for the hanging. The application was filed on behalf of Akshay, Vinay and Pawan.

To this, Singh said he was busy with work as numerous petitions filed by the convicts were pending in different courts.

The plea claimed the review mercy petitions filed by Akshay and Pawan were pending before the President.

The plea said the stay would apply to the fourth convict Mukesh also since they cannot be separately hanged.

It also said that the divorce petition filed by Akshay’s wife was pending before a local court in Bihar.

The plea further said the applications would require time for consideration and hence the fresh execution date of March 20 was unsustainable and should be set aside.

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