Hisar: Former Haryana MLA Relu Ram Punia’s daughter Sonia will be the first woman in this country to be hanged after President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday rejected her mercy petition.

Sonia and her husband Sanjeev had been awarded death sentence for killing eight persons including her MLA father for inheriting family property in 2001.

The death penalty of Sonia and her husband was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007 for the gruesome murders over property dispute. The couple is lodged in Ambala jail at present.

Though courts have imposed death penalty on women, there is no instance of any woman being hanged in the history of independent India.

Terming the rejection of mercy petition as a victory of justice, advocate Lal Bahadur Khowal said, “A petition will be filed in the court to fix date of Sonia’s execution.” Brother of Relu Ram and petitioner, Ram Singh also expressed satisfaction over upholding the hanging of Sonia and Sanjeev.

Earlier, the couple along with a few Pakistani spies had tried to escape from jail by digging a tunnel. Sonia had written a letter to the then President on February 17, 2009 requesting that decision be taken soon on her mercy petition.

Sonia and his husband Sanjeev had brutally murdered eight persons including his MLA father at Prabhuvala village in Hisar on August 23, 2001. Sonia and Sanjeev were made accused in the case.

Those killed included her mother Krishna, sister Priyanka, stepbrother Sunil, his wife Shakuntala and their three children - Lokesh, 4, Shivani, 2, and 45-day-old Preeti.
Sessions Judge had awarded death penalty to the couple on May 31, 2004. Later on April 2, 2005, High Court commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment.

On February 15, 2007, the SC upheld the Sessions Judge’s verdict of death sentence to Sonia and Sanjeev in the case. In the same year on August 23, the Apex Court rejected the review petition clearing the way for hanging of Sonia and Sanjeev.  

After the rejection of review petition, Sonia and Sanjeev had filed a mercy plea to the then President Pratibha Patil.

(JPN/Bureau)

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