One of the killers of 25-year-old journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, who was convicted by a Delhi court under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in November last year, has approached the Delhi High Court, challenging his conviction and life sentence.
The convict, in his plea, stated that the trial court had delivered the verdict in the 'blind and clueless murder case' under acute media and social pressure and the Delhi Police had falsely charged him.
He stated the trial court had committed a grave error by convicting and sentencing the accused on the basis of surmises and conjectures under the various provisions of penal law for their similar alleged acts.
He said the trial court had further failed to acknowledge that the prosecution had miserably failed to link the accused in commission of the alleged offence, adding that there was no recovery of murder weapon or vehicle from the accused.
SOUMYA’S KILLERS HANDED LIFE SENTENCE BY DELHI COURT
All four accused, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Balbir Malik, Ajay Kumar had also been fined Rs 25,000 each and Rs 1 lakh each under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). The fifth convict, Ajay Sethi, was fined Rs 7.5 lakh.
The court also ordered that Rs 1.2 lakh from the fine imposed on the four convicts be given to the parents of Soumya Vishwanathan. Out of the Rs 7.25 lakh to be paid by Ajay Sethi, Rs. 7.2 lakh should also be released to the family, the court ordered.
The court observed that the act of the four convicts does not fall under the ‘rarest of rare’ category and hence, the death penalty cannot be imposed. Soumya, a journalist with India Today Group, was shot dead in the early hours of September 30, 2008, on south Delhi's Nelson Mandela Marg while she was returning home from work. Police claimed the motive was robbery.