Crime Gathered

Hanging day closer, Akshay still waits for ‘last meeting’

NEW DELHI: The family members of three Nirbhaya convicts have already had their “last meeting”, when they were allowed to meet in a closed room and touch each other. However, Akshay Thakur’s family is yet to come and his wife and parents have been asked to meet him by Thursday, a Tihar Jail source said.
The four death-row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape-and-murder case are scheduled to be hanged on Friday.
An official said the family members of Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma met them on February 29. Both of them broke down and jail officials had to console Sharma after he started crying inconsolably, he added.
The other convict, Mukesh Singh, mostly kept quiet during his meeting on March 2 while his family members had occasional emotional outbursts, a source said. Singh apparently kept assuring them that he still had legal options left to save himself from the gallows. A court on Tuesday rejected Singh’s plea claiming he was not in Delhi when Nirbhaya was gang-raped in a moving bus in south Delhi.
Even after the “last meeting”, the families are allowed their weekly interactions with the convicts, but no separate, one-to-one meeting is permitted.
Thakur, meanwhile, had told the Tihar authorities that his family members would meet him on Wednesday. An official said he seemed to have lost hope that his family members would meet him after his wife decided to seek a divorce.
“We facilitated a phone call between him and his wife after this. He then claimed that his wife would come and meet him on Wednesday,” said the official. His wife, Punita Devi (29), has filed a divorce case in a court in Bihar’s Aurangabad, saying she doesn’t want to live the rest of her life as a widow.
Meanwhile, the preparations for the hanging are in full swing and dummy executions have been carried out. Officials are also keeping a tab on the health of the four men and additional staff have been deployed outside their solitary cells to avoid any untoward incident.
Another accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide inside Tihar, while a juvenile has been freed after serving his term at a Home.

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