Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday blamed the Aam Aadmi government for the delay in the execution of the four convicts of the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

Minister said it was due to the Delhi government that even after the rejection of the mercy petition of the four convicts by the Supreme Court last year, they were not executed.

“I want to tell the Kejriwal government that even though the review petition of three of the four convicts was dismissed by the Supreme Court in July 2018, the executions may not take place on the due date (January 22) because the Prison Department under the AAP government was sleeping,” she said.

She further slammed the Delhi government for giving Rs 10,000 and a sewing kit to the juvenile rapist after his release.

“They (Delhi government) did not see tears in the eyes of Nirbhaya’s mother? I salute her today for her struggle all these seven years,” she said.

On Friday, President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy petition of the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case convict Mukesh Singh.

Singh’s plea was forwarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs to President on Thursday night, hours after it was received from Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s office for review.

The Delhi government had forwarded the plea of Baijal’s office after rejecting it.

The 23-year-old victim, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, was brutally gang-raped 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.