BJP sees Delhi govt's 'complicity' in delay in Nirbhaya convicts' hanging, AAP calls it lie

New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) The BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday engaged in a war of words over the 'delay' in hanging of the Nirbhaya case convicts, with the saffron party blaming it on the Delhi government's 'complicity' and 'sympathies' for them, while the AAP accused its rival of 'misleading' the people, saying law and order is the Centre's domain.

BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar said all the four convicts would have been hanged by now, had the AAP government acted quickly and served notices to them immediately after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal against death sentence in 2017.

'If they have not been hanged yet, it is due to the AAP government's negligence... This delay of over two and a half years is due to the complicity of Delhi's AAP government. It has sympathies with these convicts, and this (delay) is a result of that,' he told a press conference. Hitting back, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the BJP leader has spoken a 'lie' and made 'insensitive' comments.

'Whatever delay is taking place, the BJP is responsible, and that is why instead of misleading people, the Union minister should apologise for ignoring such a sensitive matter,' he told reporters, adding that law and order in the national capital falls under the Centre's domain.

Javadekar said the Delhi government should have served notices on the convicts within days. Justice would have been delivered by now, he said.

The four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape-murder case will not be hanged on January 22 as scheduled, with the Delhi government on Wednesday telling the high court that the execution has to be postponed in view of the pendency of a mercy petition by one of them.

As authorities and the victim's mother contended that the four men were 'frustrating' and 'intentionally' delaying the legal process by filing curative and mercy pleas in stages to postpone their execution, the Delhi government recommended rejecting Mukesh Kumar Singh's mercy plea to the President and forwarded it to the Lieutenant Governor.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters that the action was taken at 'lightning speed'.

The four convicts -- Mukesh (32) Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7. PTI KR UZM KR ANB ANB