Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 16:06 UK

Wealthy Indian killer sentenced

Nitish Katara (Picture: justicefornitishkatara.blogspot)
Nitish Katara was murdered in 2002 (Picture: justicefornitishkatara.blogspot)

The son of an influential Indian politician has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murder by a court in Delhi.

On Wednesday, Vikas Yadav was convicted of killing Nitish Katara in 2002 because he was opposed to her relationship with his sister.

Yadav's cousin, Vishal Yadav, has also been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Correspondents say the case was a key test of the judiciary's ability to take on the rich and powerful.

Vikas Yadav's father, Dharam Pal Yadav, is a wealthy and powerful lawmaker from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

In passing sentence on Friday, the court ruled that the case did not merit the death sentence under Indian law.

A lawyer representing Mr Katara's family said that she was satisfied with the sentence.

Lawyers for Vikas Yadav said that they would appeal against the sentence and conviction.

Charred body

Vikas Yadav has also been convicted for his role in the murder of Delhi model Jessica Lal and is currently serving a jail sentence.

A management student, Mr Katara went missing from a wedding in February 2002.

Mother Neelam Katara (Picture: Naveen Sharma)
Mother Neelam Katara said she was happy with the convictions (Pic: Naveen Sharma)

Later, his badly charred body was found. The Yadavs were arrested two months later.

The prosecution told the court that Mr Katara was killed by Vikas and Vishal Yadav because they did not approve of his relationship with Vikas's sister Bharti.

Bharti Yadav, who was listed as a key witness by the prosecution, was sent to London by her family immediately after the murder.

She returned to Delhi in November 2006 to give her side of the story to the court.

This case - along with the high-profile murder cases of model Jessica Lal and student Priyadarshini Mattoo - have caused public outrage in India, with civil society activists campaigning for justice for the victims.

Mr Katara's mother, Neelam Katara has pursued the case relentlessly over the past six years in the court.

Mr Katara's friends used online petitions and a blog as part of their campaign demanding justice for him.

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