Journalist Soumya Viswanathan's murder: Four convicted to life imprisonment

Soumya Vishwanathan. Photo: Manorama Online

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday sentenced four convicts in the murder of Malayali journalist Soumya Vishwanathan to life imprisonment. While sentencing Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar to life imprisonment, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey also imposed a fine of Rs 1.25 lakh on each of them.

The fifth convict, Ajay Sethi, was sentenced to three years of simple imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 7.25 lakh. The court, however, noted that he had already undergone more than 14 years of imprisonment.

The court also ordered that of the total fine amount imposed on the convicts, Rs 12 lakh will be paid to the victim's family.

Ordering the quantum of punishment, the additional sessions judge said the offence does not fall in the category of rarest of rare cases. So request for death penalty is refused, he said.

During the proceedings, the victim's mother Madhavi Vishwanathan told the court that she has been waiting for justice for over 15 years.

Soumya Vishwanathan, who was working with a leading English news channel, was shot dead in the early hours of September 30, 2008, on south Delhi's Nelson Mandela Marg while she was returning home from work. Police claimed the motive was robbery.

On October 18, the court convicted Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, and Ajay Kumar under Indian Penal Code section 302 (murder) and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) provisions for committing organised crime resulting in the death of any person.

Ajay Sethi was convicted under IPC section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and MCOCA provisions for conspiring to abet, aid, or knowingly facilitate organised crime and receiving proceeds of organised crime.

According to the prosecution, Ravi Kapoor shot Vishwanathan with a country-made pistol on September 30, 2008, on Nelson Mandela Marg in South Delhi while chasing the victim's car to rob her. Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Malik were also with Kapoor.

Police recovered the car used in the murder from the fifth accused Ajay Sethi alias Chacha.

(With PTI inputs)

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