The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the Delhi Police’s stand on the appeals filed by four men against their conviction for the murder of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan as well as the life sentence awarded to them by the trial court last year.
A division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain issued notice on the appeals moved by Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljit Singh Malik, and Ajay Kumar. The bench also issued notice on applications moved by the four convicts seeking suspension of their sentence awarded by the trial court in November last year.
The matter is next listed on February 12.
On January 12, a single bench of the Delhi High Court had dismissed parole plea of Kapoor after taking into account his “criminal history, gravity of the offence” committed by him and his “overall conduct inside jail”.
In October 2023, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey had held the four men guilty of murder and committing organised crime resulting in the death of a person under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). A fifth man, Ajay Sethi, was convicted for receiving stolen property and conspiring to abet, aid in, or knowingly facilitate organised crime under the MCOCA.
In November 2023, the trial court had sentenced the four men to life imprisonment and the fifth convict to three years in jail. While rejecting the request for the death penalty, the trial court had held the offence committed by the accused does not fall in the “rarest of rare” category.
On September 30, 2008, Vishwanathan, who was working with India Today, was found dead in her car on Nelson Mandela Marg in South Delhi. A breakthrough came in 2009 during the investigation into the murder of BPO employee Jigisha Ghosh when one of the accused confessed to also being involved in Vishwanathan’s murder.