The Delhi government has recommended the Centre to reject the mercy petition of Mukesh, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the government had recommended rejection of the mercy petition of the Nirbhaya convict in its communication with the Lt. Governor Anil Baijal.

The Delhi government’s recommendation to the Home Ministry comes less than 24 hours after Mukesh Singh appealed to Rashtrapati Bhavan to spare him from the gallows.

Sisodia further said that the government had worked at “lightning speed” to make sure there was no delay by the city government.

“There was a fresh mercy petition filed. Delhi government worked at lightning speed and has sent back this file too to the L-G. It has been rejected from our end. This fresh mercy plea has been sent to the President already,” Sisodia told reporters.

The deputy chief minister’s assertion came as the Tihar prison authorities informed that execution of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case cannot take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them.

The four convicts — Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — are to be hanged at 7 am on January 22.

The Delhi government and the prison authorities had informed the Delhi High Court that under the rules, it will have to wait for the mercy plea to be decided before executing the death warrant.

They also said that none of the four convicts can be executed on January 22 unless the present mercy plea is decided.

Convict Mukesh had moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday after the Supreme Court had dismissed his curative petition. The plea sought for directions for setting aside the trial court order and not to give effect to the order for execution of death sentence on January 22. He had also filed a mercy plea before the President.

Delhi’s Patiala House Court had on January 7 issued death warrants against all the four convicts in the 2012 case.

Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petitions.

Earlier in December, Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya case, had moved the President’s office seeking immediate withdrawal of his mercy petition as he claimed that the plea sent to the President by the Union Home Ministry was not signed and authorized by him.

This came a day after the Centre recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind rejection of the mercy plea of Sharma.

Prior to that, the Delhi government had “strongly recommended” the rejection of the mercy petition.

The petition was forwarded to the state government after the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court rejected it, saying “he does not deserve any mercy”.

So far, only Mukesh has filed the mercy petition and two of the convicts — Akshay and Pawan — have not filed any curative petitions yet but their lawyer said this will be done soon.