Soumya murder case: Supreme Court notice on plea challenging bail granted to convicts [22.4.2024]

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice on the plea filed by the mother of the slain television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan against the Delhi High Court order granting bail to four convicts serving life imprisonment in the 2008 murder case.

A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal asked the Delhi government and four convicts to file responses on the plea in four weeks.

Soumya's mother, Madhavi Vishwanathan, has approached the top court, challenging the Delhi High Court's February 12 order where it suspended the convicts' sentence and granted bail to them till the pendency of their appeal challenging their conviction and sentence.

The convicts are Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik, and Ajay Kumar, out of whom Kapoor, Shukla, and Malik were also convicted in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case.

Vishwanathan, who worked with an 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.

Last year, a special court awarded double life terms to Kapoor, Shukla, Malik, and Kumar under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3(1)(i) (committing organized 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 would run "consecutively".

Challenging the trial court order of their conviction and sentence of life imprisonment, the convicts moved to the Delhi High Court. They had also filed applications seeking suspension of sentence during the pendency of the appeal.

The High Court while granting relief to the convicts, had noted that they have been in custody for 14 years.

Highlighting the two life terms awarded to the convicts, Soumya's mother has sought the top court's intervention.

As per the prosecution, Kapoor shot Vishwanathan with a country-made pistol while chasing her car to rob her. Shukla, Kumar, and Malik were accompanying him.

The trial court had also awarded the death penalty to Kapoor and Shukla and sentenced Malik to life imprisonment in the Jigisha Ghosh murder case. However, Kapoor's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the High Court, which upheld Malik's life sentence.

22 Apr 2024