One of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, Vinay Kumar facing death sentence has filed a mercy petition before President Ram Nath Kovind.

“Tihar Jail authorities had informed the Nirbhaya gang-rape case convicts that they have exhausted all legal remedies and are only left with the provision of filing a mercy petition against the death sentence before the President. They had received the notice on October 29,” Director General of Tihar Jail, Sandeep Goel told news agency IANS.

Three of the convicts are housed in Tihar and one is lodged in Mandoli jail. For several days after the notice was served to the convicts, they remained silent. On Friday, a lawyer met Pawan Kumar Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh, the convicts. After the meeting the lawyer of Vinay Kumar Sharma had told news agency IANS that his client will not seek amnesty from the President. Two convicts will file curative petitions while one of the convicts will seek review of the court’s decision, he had said.

The move comes after three condemned convicts, in the 2012 gang-rape and murder case of a 23-year-old paramedic student, wrote to the jail authorities, seeking withdrawal of the October 29 notification granting them seven days’ time to file mercy pleas with the president against their execution, their lawyer said on Monday.

AP Singh, lawyer representing Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Kumar Gupta in courts, said the three convicts had written to their jail authorities, seeking withdrawal of the notification on several grounds.

When Tihar jail DG confirmed that one of the convicts has sought amnesty from the President, it was like a bolt from the blue for the lawyer. Vinay Kumar Sharma’s lawyer Ajay Prakash Singh told IANS that he had no idea how his client changed his mind in just two-three days to seek amnesty.

“May be Tihar Jail authorities pressurised him to write mercy petition,” Singh told IANS. The Tihar Jail administration has denied the allegation saying they have no right to put pressure on any of the convicts. “Our job was to serve notice to the convicts. If we had put pressure on them, why did the other three not seek amnesty,” said the jail administration.

The top court had, on July 9, 2018, dismissed the pleas filed by three of the four convicts, seeking a review of its verdict upholding the death penalty awarded to them.

It had rejected the review pleas filed by Mukesh (30), Gupta (23) and Sharma (23), saying no grounds were made out by them for a review of the verdict.

The fourth death row convict, Singh (32), did not file a review petition against the apex court’s May 5, 2017 judgment.

The Supreme Court, in its 2017 verdict, upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the gang-rape and murder case of the woman.

The woman was raped and severely assaulted by six persons in a running bus in south Delhi, before being thrown out on the road, on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012. She succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

One of the accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail here. A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board. He was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.