Saumya Vishwanathan murder: HC seeks police response to pleas against conviction | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Saumya Vishwanathan murder: HC seeks police response to pleas against conviction

Jan 23, 2024 12:10 PM IST

Vishwanathan, who worked at Headlines Today (now India Today), was shot dead in her car in South Delhi while she was on her way home on September 30, 2008

The Delhi high court on Tuesday sought the response of the police to the pleas challenging the life sentence and conviction of the four men of murdering journalist Saumya Vishwanathan in 2008. A Justice Suresh Kumar Kait-led bench issued the notice while also seeking the trial court records. It posted the matter for hearing on February 12.

A trial court on October 18 found Baljeet Malik, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, and Ajay Kumar guilty of murder. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A trial court on October 18 found Baljeet Malik, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, and Ajay Kumar guilty of murder. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Vishwanathan, who worked at Headlines Today (now India Today), was shot dead in her car in South Delhi while she was on her way home on September 30, 2008, as the convicts attempted to rob her.

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The trial court on October 18 found Baljeet Malik, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, and Ajay Kumar guilty of murder and convicted them under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)’s Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) and the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA). It convicted the fifth accused, Ajay Sethi, under Section 411 of IPC (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and MCOCA.

The court observed that the prosecution successfully proved through scientific evidence, testimonies of witnesses, and Kapoor’s confessional statement that the four men were guilty of Vishwanathan’s murder.

In November, the court sentenced four of the five convicts to two life imprisonments consecutively. It refused to grant the death penalty observing that the act did not fall within the category of “rarest of rare”. The court fined each convict 1.25 lakh.

Malik, in his appeal, submitted that the conviction could not be sustained as the first information report was lodged as a blind murder case with no arrest until March 2009. He added there was media pressure on the Delhi Police to solve the case. Malik argued that the Delhi Police falsely booked them after arresting them for the murder of BPO employee Jigisha Ghosh in 2009, without evidence or link and based on their allegedly recorded disclosure statements.

“The prosecution miserably failed to link these accused persons in [the] 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 eyewitness or CCTV footage on record to prove the participation of the accused persons as alleged in the case,” said the plea.

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