The Nitish Katara Murder Case is one of the most high-profile cases in India, which shook the nation in 2002. Nitish Katara, a 25-year-old business executive, was kidnapped and murdered by Vikas Yadav, the son of a prominent politician, and his cousin Vishal Yadav.
In the year 1998, Nitish Katara joined the IMT, Ghaziabad in order to pursue an MBA (PGDBM) course. There he befriended Gaurav Gupta, Bharat Diwakar and Bharti Yadav (daughter of Shri D.P. Yadav, Member of Parliament and an industrialist). The course finished in the year 2000 whereafter Nitish Katara took a job with Reliance General Insurance in Delhi itself as his father was ill. Bharti continued to reside in the National Capital Region as well. In around January, 2001 with passage of time the friendship of this young couple blossomed into a love affair. This relationship was known to Bharti’s family members and relatives including her sister Bhawna Yadav, mother Umlesh Yadav, brother Vikas Yadav, cousin brother Vishal Yadav etc.
Bharti Yadav had introduced Nitish to her boyfriend, Vikas Yadav, who was also the son of DP Yadav. According to the prosecution, Vikas Yadav was upset with Nitish for his friendship with Bharti, and he felt that Nitish was trying to come between him and Bharti.
On the night of February 16, 2002, Nitish was attending a wedding in Ghaziabad, a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. At the wedding, he met his friend, Bharti Yadav, who was the daughter of a politician named DP Yadav. Between midnight and 12:30 a.m., Nitish Katara was spotted with the Vikas Yadav, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Yadav in a Tata Safari bearing Punjab registration No.PB-07H- 0085 outside the venue by security guards.
They took him to a farmhouse in UP, where they beat him up mercilessly and strangled him to death. The motive behind the murder was reportedly Nitish’s relationship with Bharti Yadav, which the Yadav family considered to be a dishonor to their family.
In the morning of 17th February, 2002, a badly burnt dead body was lying on the Shikharpur Road near Khurja. A post-mortem was conducted on the corpse on the 18th of February 2002 in which it was opined that the death was caused due to coma as a result of ante mortem head injury with post mortem burn. The doctor had observed a fracture injury about 7 cms above the left eyebrow of the dead body. Smt. Nilam Katara identified the body as that of her son, Nitish Katara by examining his left palm which was not burnt and comparing it with her own hand, as Nitish Katara had unusually small hands.
The case was initially mishandled by the local police, and it was only after Nitish’s mother, Neelam Katara, launched a media campaign, that the case gained nationwide attention. The case was then transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who conducted a thorough investigation and arrested Vikas and Vishal Yadav.
The case received a lot of media attention, and the trial lasted for several years. In 2008, Vikas Yadav, his cousin Vishal Yadav, and a third accused, Sukhdev Pehalwan, were found guilty of Nitish Katara’s murder. They were sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court.
The case was appealed in the Delhi High Court, and in 2015, the High Court upheld the trial court’s decision and rejected the appeals of the accused. The court also noted that the murder was committed in a “cold-blooded and premeditated manner.”
The Nitish Katara murder case has been widely covered by the Indian media and has raised important questions about the influence of politicians and their families in the Indian justice system. The case also highlights the need for the Indian judiciary to work independently and without any external pressure.
This murder case brought to light the issue of honor killings in India, where families kill their children for marrying outside their caste or religion. It also highlighted the flaws in the Indian justice system and the need for speedy trials and impartial investigation. The case became a landmark case in the fight against honor killings and brought justice to Nitish Katara’s family after years of struggle.