President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy plea of one of the Nirbhaya case convicts Vinay Sharma on Saturday. Sharma had filed the mercy petition to President on Wednesday after his curative petition against the death penalty awarded to him was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Right after the rejection of Sharma’s mercy plea was rejected, another convict Akshay Thakur had filed a mercy petition before the President.

The 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case has witnessed a series of twists and turns right after the Patiala House Court in Delhi had awarded the death sentence to the four culprits. Review petition and curative petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against the Delhi court’s order after which the option of mercy petition before the President is being practiced by the convicts one by one.

Earlier, January 22 was fixed the date for the hanging of the four convicts in the case which was postponed to February 1 after convict Mukesh Singh’s mercy plea was rejected.

Another convict Pawan Gupta had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court claiming that he was a minor in 2012 when the brutal case happened, and should his trial should be done accordingly. This was the second time in two weeks that the petition was filed by Pawan Gupta.

But yesterday, the apex court had rejected his petition. On the same day, the Delhi Patiala House Court had deferred the hanging of the four convicts in the case till further orders.

Reacting on the Court’s decision, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said that the convicts’ advocate challenged her by saying that they will never be executed. “AP Singh has challenged me saying that the convicts will never be executed. I will continue my fight.”

“The government will have to execute the convicts,” she added.

President rejecting convict Vinay Sharma’s mercy petition means the early hanging could be done on February 15. As per the law, the hanging could take place 14 days after the rejection of mercy plea by the President.

But as another convict Akshay Thakur has also filed a mercy petition, it is a matter of rejection of the plea by the President to estimate the next possible date of the hanging.

The 23-year-old victim, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, was brutally gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, inside a running bus in south Delhi by six persons, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder.

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.

The fifth accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while a sixth accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.