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Soumya Vishwanathan Murder: Four Convicts Sentenced To Life Imprisonment

On 18 October, a Delhi court convicted five accused in the killing of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan in 2008.

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A Delhi court on Saturday, 25 November sentenced four convicts to life imprisonment and the fifth convict to a three-year jail term in relation to the 2008 killing of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan.

This comes over a month after the Saket court held five men — Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, Ajay Kumar and Ajay Sethi — guilty under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA) in the 15-year-old murder case.

While ordering the quantum of punishment, the court turned down the request for death penalty and said that the offence does not fall in the category of rarest of rare cases, news agency PTI reported.

Soumya, who was then working with the news channel India Today, was returning to her south Delhi home in the wee hours on 30 September 2008, when she was shot dead.

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What Soumya's mother said: Speaking to news agency ANI, Soumya's 74-year-old mother Madhavi Vishwanathan said: "I am not satisfied, but I can say it is a good thing... A message has been given to society that you have to face consequences for what you do."

Overview of the case: While four of the accused had also been charged under Section 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the fifth accused has been convicted under Section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property).

In 2009, the Delhi Police had invoked MCOCA against the Ravi Kumar and others, and submitted the chargesheet to the court. The first breakthrough in the investigation emerged six months after the incident, with the murder investigation of a BPO employee Jigisha Ghosh, when one of the accused confessed to killing Soumya.

In its 620-page charge sheet filed in 2009, the Delhi Police had said the motive behind the murder was robbery.

The case has dragged on for 15 years even as the prosecution took 13 years to present evidence. The prosecution started presenting the evidence in the case on 23 April 2010 and concluded on 17 May 2023, as reported in The Times of India.

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