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May 26, 2024 11:12 am

Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan’s mother moves Supreme Court against bail granted to four life convicts

New Delhi, April 20

The mother of TV journalist Soumya Viswanathan has moved the Supreme Court against the bail granted to four convicts who were serving life imprisonment for her daughter’s murder in 2008.

The Delhi High Court on February 12 suspended the sentence of Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik and Ajay Kumar and granted them bail till the pendency of their appeals challenging their conviction and sentence.

Vishwanathan, 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.

An apex court bench of justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal is likely to hear the plea filed by Soumya’s mother Madhavi Viswanathan.

While giving relief to the convicts, the high court had noted that the convicts have been in custody for 14 years. It had on January 23 asked the Delhi Police to respond to the appeals filed by the four convicts.

A special court had on November 26, 2023, awarded two life terms to Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3(1)(i) (committing organised crime resulting in the death of any person) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

The court had made it clear that the sentences will run “consecutively”.

The fifth convict, Ajay Sethi, was handed down three years of simple imprisonment under Section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the IPC.

However, it set off the three-year sentence against the time Sethi had already served, noting he remained in custody for more than 14 years and underwent incarceration during the trial for offences under the IPC and MCOCA for conspiring to abet, aid, or knowingly facilitate organised crime and receiving proceeds of organised crime.

Kapoor’s counsel had submitted that he has been in custody for the last 14 years and nine months, and urged the court to suspend his sentence during the pendency of the appeal.

A similar prayer for suspension of sentence was also made by advocate Amit Kumar, who represented Shukla, Malik and Kumar.

While sentencing Kapoor, Shukla, Malik and Kumar to double life imprisonment, the trial court had also imposed a fine of Rs 1.25 lakh on each of them. It had imposed a fine of Rs 7.25 lakh on Sethi.

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