New Delhi: In a major development in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case, top Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sources have said that Vinay Sharma, one of the four convicts on death row in the case, has withdrawn his mercy petition filed before President Ram Nath Kovind.

The MHA sources added that with Vinay having withdrawn his petition, there is nothing pending either with the ministry or Rashtrapati Bhavan. According to some reports, he withdrew his plea on the grounds that the petition forwarded by the MHA to the President was not authorised by him.

The review petition of another convict, Akshay Thakur, meanwhile, will be taken up by the Supreme Court on December 17, incidentally, a day after the 7th anniversary of the horrific incident. Two other convicts-Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta-have not filed any mercy plea. The four were informed in October that they had exhausted all their legal options and filing mercy petition to the President was their last resort.

All four convicts are currently lodged in Tihar Jail, where preparations are said to be underway for their hanging.

In recent days, a series of developments have taken place in connection with the case, indicating that the four convicts could be executed soon. While the Tihar administration is in talks with other jails for a hangman since it doesn’t have one, a number of people from across the country have written to the authorities, ‘volunteering’ to carry out the execution.

Additionally, Bihar’s Buxar central jail has been directed to prepare hanging ropes for the execution.

Ram Singh, the prime accused in the case and the elder brother of co-accused Mukesh, had committed suicide in his cell in Tihar in March 2013. The sixth, a juvenile, is already out, having served his sentence under the erstwhile-juvenile justice laws.