Calcutta, Aug. 5: A fax from the Union home ministry reached Writers’ Buildings this afternoon, clearing the way for the hanging of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, convicted of raping and murdering teenager Hetal Parekh.
With the formal communication of the President’s rejection of the mercy plea, the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government picked up the ropes from where it had left off on June 24, when the hanging was stayed with only hours to go.
At 3.30 pm, jails minister Biswanath Chowdhury announced: “We have received the order from the central government and will now send this to the judicial department. They will inform us about the next step.”
The fax received by judicial secretary Shyamal Kanti Chakraborty said: “The mercy petition on behalf of the condemned prisoner Dhananjay Chatterjee has been rejected by the President… (and) the stay granted on the execution of death sentence is vacated.”
A copy was also received by jails secretary P.K. Agarwal. Chief minister Bhattacharjee said: “The intimation came to officials. I don’t want to react.” He had earlier advised the Centre that Dhananjoy should be hanged.
With the clemency petition turned down, the judicial department will now approach the superintendent of Alipore central jail, where Dhananjoy is confined, and enquire if any more mercy pleas are pending. Sources said they are not aware of any.
If there is none, the government will have to fix a fresh date for the execution — about three to four weeks from the time it decides. Finally, the superintendent will obtain a “warrant of execution” from the Alipore trial court, which had handed Dhananjoy the death sentence, and inform his family of the date of hanging.The government is keeping its fingers crossed as Dhananjoy’s family is planning to move the Supreme Court. It has prepared its defence in the event of an appeal that Dhananjoy is mentally ill.
“A doctor has examined Dhananjoy and found him fit and fine,” the jails minister said.