Delhi court convicts five accused in 2008 murder case of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan

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NEW DELHI: Delhi’s Saket court on Wednesday pronounced the verdict in the 15-year-old murder case of Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan convicting five accused under provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

The court has convicted the four accused namely Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar for the offence of murder under sections 302, 34 of IPC and 3(1)(I) of MCOCA.

The fifth accused Ajay Sethi has been convicted for the offence of possession of stolen property under 411 IPC and 3 (2) and 3 (5) of MCOCA.

Ajay Sethi was discharged from the offence of murder. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) delivered the judgement.

The Court said that the prosecution has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused Ravi and others had committed the murder of the victim intending to rob her.

“The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that all accused persons convicted offences under MCOCA,” the court said.

The court has directed the Prosecution and the accused persons to file an affidavit and Secretary of Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to submit a report regarding the accused persons under the victim compensation scheme and expenses incurred in prosecution of the case.

The parents of the deceased, MK Vishwanathan and Madhvi Vishwanathan were also present in the court. They expressed their satisfaction with the judgement of the court.

Detailed judgement on the matter is awaited.

Delhi Police had invoked the stringent Act MCOCA given the previous criminal cases against the convicted. This is a 15-year-old case related to the murder of a journalist that dates back to September 2008.

News Channel journalist Soumya Vishwanathan was shot dead at Nelson Mandela Marg while returning home after her night shift on September 30, 2008. A case was registered at police station Vasant Vihar. She was shot in the forehead.

This case was disclosed during the investigation of the murder of call centre executive Jigisha Ghosh who was killed on March 19, 2009.
Delhi Police had invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) based on the involvement of accused persons in other cases.

On March 28, 2009, during the investigation of the Jigisha Ghosh murder case, Delhi Police arrested Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla and Baljeet Malik. They were arrested in the present case based on their disclosure statement.

Delhi Police, on June 22, 2009, filed the first charge sheet against all five accused persons under section 302 (murder) and 34 (Common intention) IPC. The court framed charges against all accused persons except Ajay Sethi for the offence of murder.

On October 8, 2009, the first supplementary charge sheet was filed by Delhi police under MCOCA against accused Ravi Kapoor. Delhi police had booked all other accused persons in this case.

The court on May 9, 2011, charged all accused persons under MCOCA for allegedly running an organised crime syndicate.

Advocate Amit Kumar represented accused Amit Shukla and Baljeet Malik who argued that the sanctions under MCOCA were mechanically accorded without application of mind.

It was also argued that there is no evidence to prove that these two accused persons have shared the alleged common intention with anyone to commit the alleged offence of murder.

Advocate Amit Kumar also argued that there is no eye witness or CCTV footage on record to prove the participation of these accused persons as alleged in this case. (ANI)

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