Prez commutes sentence of death row convict

New Delhi: In a first case of pardon by President Pranab Mukherjee after assuming office, death sentence of a convict, Atbir, has been commuted to life imprisonment.

Atbir was sentenced to death by a sessions court here in 2004 for the murder of his step mother, step sister and step brother over a property dispute in 1996. The decision was upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court in August 2010.

In June this year, the Home Ministry recommended to the President commutation to life imprisonment.

The President disposed of the petition on November 15 commuting the death sentence given to him to life imprisonment, according to the details of mercy pleas given on the President's office website.

On November 5, the President had rejected the mercy plea of Mohd Ajmal Kasab who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in August last year for waging war against the country and killing 166 persons and injuring 238 others in the audacious terror attack in Mumbai in 2008.

According to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mukherjee has sent nine mercy petitions to the Ministry of Home Affairs for further consideration.

These include mercy pleas of Mohd Afzal Guru, convicted for attacking Parliament in which nine persons were killed and 16 were injured.

There is now only one mercy petition of Saibanna Ningappa Natikar pending before the President. The Supreme Court had upheld Natikar's death sentence in 2005 who was convicted for killing his wife and daughter. The MHA has sent its recommendation on November 5 to the President's secretariat for decision.