New Delhi: In a significant development today, five individuals were found guilty in the 2008 murder case of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan. A Delhi court also convicted the accused under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in addition to the charges of murder and robbery.
The convicted individuals, namely Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljit Mallick, and Akshay Kumar were found guilty of murder and robbery. The fifth accused, Ajay Sethi, was convicted of aiding the others.
Soumya Vishwanathan, a 25-year-old journalist with Headlines Today, lost her life on September 30, 2008, when she was fatally shot in her car while returning from work in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar.
Speaking to the media following the verdict, Soumya’s mother expressed her hope that this judgment would serve as a deterrent for potential offenders. She advocated for a sentence of life imprisonment for the convicted individuals.
The breakthrough in the case occurred during the investigation of another murder, that of IT executive Jigisha Ghose, who was discovered dead in Faridabad several months after Soumya’s death. The connections between Kapoor, Shukla, Malik, and the Vasant Vihar murder were uncovered during their questioning in relation to the IT executive’s case, leading to the arrest of two more individuals.
The 620-page chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in 2009 stated that the murder’s motive was robbery, with the accused facing charges of murder, evidence destruction, forgery, and criminal conspiracy. The application of MCOCA to all five accused further underscores the seriousness of the case.
In a heartfelt moment, a senior police officer embraced Soumya Vishwanathan’s mother after the verdict was announced. It’s worth noting that MCOCA, originally enacted in Mumbai, was extended to Delhi in 2002 by the Union Home Ministry.