Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan Murder: SC Seeks Convicts’ Response on Delhi Police’s Plea against Bail

Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan Murder

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review the pleas filed by the Delhi Police challenging the high court’s order granting bail to four convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the murder case of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan.

A bench of Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma issued notice on the four pleas filed by the Delhi Police and consolidated them with the pending petition from Vishwanathan’s mother contesting the bail granted to the four convicts.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Delhi Police, informed the court that since a notice has already been issued by the apex court, all the pleas should be consolidated.

The bench issued notice and consolidated the pleas with the pending matter.

Bail Granted to 4 Convicts

On February 12, the high court had suspended the sentences of Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik, and Ajay Kumar pending their appeals against conviction and sentence, and granted them bail. The court noted that the convicts had been in custody for over 14 years.

On April 22, the apex court agreed to review the plea filed by Vishwanathan’s mother challenging the bail granted to the four convicts, issuing notices to the Delhi Police and the four convicts on Madhavi Vishwanathan’s petition.

Background of the Case

Soumya Vishwanathan, who worked for a leading English news channel, was shot dead on the early morning of September 30, 2008, on Nelson Mandela Marg in south Delhi while returning home from work in her car.

A special court on November 25 last year sentenced Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik, and Ajay Kumar to two life terms each under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3(1)(i) (committing organized crime resulting in death) of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), specifying that the sentences would run “consecutively.”

The fifth convict, Ajay Sethi, received three years of simple imprisonment under Section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the IPC, corresponding to the time already served during the trial. Kapoor, Shukla, Malik, and Kumar were also fined Rs 1.25 lakh each, while Sethi was fined Rs 7.25 lakh.

Another Murder Case

Kapoor, Shukla, and Malik were also convicted in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case. The prosecution claimed that the trio later confessed to the police about their involvement in Vishwanathan’s murder and that the weapon used in her killing was recovered from their possession.

Delhi Police stated that the motive for Soumya Vishwanathan’s murder was robbery. The trial court initially awarded the death penalty to Kapoor and Shukla and sentenced Malik to life imprisonment in the Jigisha Ghosh case, but the high court later commuted the death sentences to life imprisonment and upheld Malik’s life sentence.

As per the prosecution, Ravi Kapoor shot Vishwanathan with a country-made pistol while chasing her car to rob her, with Shukla, Kumar, and Malik accompanying him. The car used in the murder was recovered from Sethi.

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