New Delhi, November 6: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a plea by Neelam Katara, mother of murdered business executive Nitish Katara, seeking direction to the Centre to grant her protection in Uttarakhand where she is shifting soon.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Central government and asked it to assess the threat perception and take a decision. As she was provided security here, it has to be provided there also, the judge orally observed, news agency PTI reported.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on November 20, as Neelam Katara told the bench that she will be shifting to Dehradun from Delhi at the end of the month.

She has been provided security here since 2002, the court was informed. Her counsel submitted that she fears for her life and the high court has the power to direct the central authority to provide her security at both the places, Delhi and Dehradun.

Advocate Pradeep Dey said she is shifting her residence from Delhi to Dehradun due to financial and other issues.

Central government standing counsel Gaurang Kanth submitted that it was a State’s matter and she should give representation to the Uttarakhand authorities to provide her security.

On October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court had awarded a 25-year jail term without any benefit of remission to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal for their role in the sensational kidnapping and killing of Nitish Katara.

Another co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan was also handed down a 20-year jail term in the case.

Prior to this, the Delhi High Court, while upholding the life imprisonment awarded to Vikas and Vishal Yadav by the trial court, had specified a 30-year sentence, without any remission, to both of them. It had awarded a 25-year jail term to third convict Pehalwan.

All three were convicted and sentenced for kidnapping Nitish Katara from a marriage party on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and then killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, the sister of Vikas.

Bharti is the daughter of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav who is in jail in connection with another murder case.

Katara was murdered as Vishal and Vikas Yadav did not approve of his affair with Bharti because they belonged to different castes, the lower court had said in its verdict.

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