Apex Court issues plea by Soumya Viswanathan’s mother challenging release of murder convicts by Supreme Court during pendency of appeal

The Supreme Court today in the special leave petition filed by the mother of TV journalist Soumya Viswanathan, issued a notice challenging the release and suspension of sentence of the four convicts in custody since 2008 for the murder of the journalist.

The petition challenged the Delhi High Court order passed on February 12, 2024, suspending the sentences of Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik and Ajay Kumar and granting them bail till the end of their appeal against their conviction and punishment.

The bank of Justice Bela M Trivedi And Judge Pankaj Mithal ordered, “Let the notice be issued to the respondents. Returnable after four weeks.”

The applicant’s lawyer argued, “The defendant(s) have been released on bail, the defendant(s) are members of organized crime and they committed the crime.”

The counsel also informed the Court that they have been serving a sentence for the last 14 years and reiterated the extract from the Delhi High Court order allowing the application: “5. Taking into account the above facts and the fact that the present appeal is dated 2024 and there are old appeals pending before us and the hearing of the present appeal will take considerable time, we hereby suspend the sentence of the appellant while the appeal is pending . Accordingly, the appellant is granted bail, if not required in any other case, on furnishing bail of Rs.10,000/- with surety of the same amount, to the satisfaction of the court concerned.”

The counselor has also submitted an opinion “They will be unleashed for a long time. We don’t know when the case will be heard by the Supreme Court… they are part of organized crime… they will commit the crime again.”

Justice Trivedi said: “We allow you to petition the Supreme Court for an expeditious hearing in the matter.”

Justice Trivedi also asked: “How she was killed?”

The applicant’s counsel said: “She came back from work and for no reason she was shot for stealing. She was an innocent victim with nothing to do. This happened to another girl Jigisha… this will continue. In this way they will be let loose for a long time… This case will never be heard before the Supreme Court.”

While granting relief to the convicts, the Supreme Court noted that they had been in custody for 14 years. The Delhi High Court had on January 23 asked the Delhi Police to respond to the appeals filed by the four convicts. A special court had on November 26, 2023, awarded two life sentences to Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3(1)(i) of the Maharashtra Control. of the Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).

Kapoor, Shukla and Malik were also convicted in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case and are still in jail. Vishwanathan, who worked for a leading English news channel, was shot dead on Nelson Mandela Marg in South Delhi in the early hours of September 30, 2008, while returning home from work in her car.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had rejected Ravi Kapoor’s plea for four weeks’ parole to maintain family ties and undergo knee surgery.

Case Title: Madhavi Viswanathan v. State NCT of Delhi (Diary No. 13692/2024)