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Govt bins Nithari killer plea for mercy

New Delhi, June 18: The Centre today recommended rejection of Nithari serial child killer Surendra Koli’s mercy plea and those of five others, including Assam’s Holiram Bordoloi whose plea was suspected to have been “lost”.

Home minister Rajnath Singh signed the five files, retaining the decisions by his UPA predecessor Sushil Kumar Shinde who had suggested to the President earlier this year that the petitions be rejected.

Pranab Mukherjee had sent the files back to the ministry for a review by the Narendra Modi government as the UPA administration had sent the papers to the Rashtrapati Bhavan a little before the elections.

The Supreme Court had in February 2011 confirmed the death sentence on Koli, whose killings of children in a house in Noida’s Nithari area had shocked the country.

The 42-year-old faced 16 murder cases dating back to 2006. He got the punishment in four of the cases. The trial is on in the others.

Among the other mercy pleas, the decision on Bordoloi was significant as it ended speculation that his petition was “lost”. Earlier this year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had sought a status report on the plea of the triple-murder convict.

Bordoloi’s petition was sent to the President in April 2005 and to the Assam government’s judicial department in June the same year.

However, it did not figure on a list of mercy petitions released by the Union home ministry in March 2013, leading to suspicion that his plea was not considered for almost nine years and prompting the intervention by the NHRC.

The other three death-row convicts are Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik (Maharashtra), Jagdish (Madhya Pradesh) and sisters Renukabai and Seema (Maharashtra). The siblings had filed a joint plea.

The sisters, along with their mother and another accomplice, Kiran Shinde, had kidnapped 13 children between 1990 and 1996 and were suspected to have killed nine of the kids. The siblings were held guilty for five of the murders and sentenced to death. Their mother died during trial in 1997, while Kiran Shinde turned approver.

Wasnik was sentenced to the gallows for the rape and murder of a child in March 2007. The punishment was confirmed by Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court. The Maharashtra governor had rejected his mercy plea earlier.

Jagdish was sentenced for killing his wife and five children in Madhya Pradesh.