Delhi HC grants bail to 4 convicts in Soumya case | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC grants bail to 4 convicts in Soumya case

Feb 13, 2024 06:44 AM IST

A high court bench led by justice Suresh Kumar Kait suspended their sentence till the pendency of their appeal challenging their conviction

The Delhi high court on Monday granted bail to four men convicted for the 2008 murder of television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan. The men had challenged their conviction and life sentence.

Soumya Vishwanathan was shot dead in her car at Vasant Kunj on September 30, 2008 around 3.30am, while she was returning home from work. (HT Archive)
Soumya Vishwanathan was shot dead in her car at Vasant Kunj on September 30, 2008 around 3.30am, while she was returning home from work. (HT Archive)

Vishwanathan was shot dead in her car at Vasant Kunj on September 30, 2008 around 3.30am, while she was returning home from work. On October 18, 2023, a trial court held four accused — Baljeet Malik, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, and Ajay Kumar — guilty of murder and charged them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), later sentencing them to two life imprisonments each. A fifth suspect — Ajay Sethi — was convicted on charges of receiving stolen property.

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Malik, Kapoor, Shukla, and Kumar then approached the high court challenging their conviction and sentence.

On Monday, a high court bench led by justice Suresh Kumar Kait suspended their sentence till the pendency of their appeal challenging their conviction. The bench, also comprising justice Girish Kathpalia, further allowed their application seeking suspension of their sentence after taking note of the fact that the four men had been behind bars for 14 years and 9 months.

To be sure, only Kumar is set to walk out of prison as Malik, Kapoor, and Shukla are also serving life sentences after they were convicted for the murder of 28-year-old BPO employee Jigisha Ghosh in 2009.

In their bail plea, the convicts argued that the Delhi Police had falsely booked them for Vishwanathan’s murder while arresting three of them for Ghosh’s murder in 2009.

“The prosecution miserably failed to link these accused persons in commission of the alleged offense dated August 30, 2008. There has not been any recovery of any weapon/vehicle from the accused persons. They have never been prosecuted for the commission of any offense under the Arms Act. There is no eye witness or CCTV footage on record to prove the participation of the accused persons as alleged in the case,” read their plea.

The plea said the prosecution failed to prove that Shukla and Malik were members of an “organised crime syndicate”.

After the Delhi high court on Monday granted bail to four convicts serving life imprisonment in the murder case of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, her mother, Madhavi Vishwanathan, said that the order was “unexpected”.

“I am not happy with the order,” she added.

Madhavi said that she did not expect that the court will grant bail to the convicts, especially when it dismissed a parole plea by one of them just a month ago. She said that she wasn’t in the country at the moment.

Soumya, who worked with a leading English news channel, was shot dead in the early hours of September 30, 2008, on Nelson Mandela Marg in south Delhi while she was returning home from work in her car. “I don’t know how many Soumyas, Jigishas and Nadeems have to lose their lives till they are punished. I didn’t expect this at all and they deserve to be punished,” Madhavi said, adding that her journey for justice has been a long one. She added that the conduct of the accused in jail should also have been considered before granting them bail.

With inputs from Hemani Bhandari

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