Life Imprisonment For Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan’s Killers
New Delhi: Almost 15 years after the murder of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, four convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment by a district court here on Saturday.
The quartet — Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Balbir Malik and Ajay Kumar – has also been fined Rs 25,000 each and Rs 1 lakh each under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The fifth convict, Ajay Sethi, has been sentenced to the period already undergone by him in jail, and fined Rs 7.5 lakh.
Soumya, a journalist with India Today Group, was shot dead around 3 am on September 30, 2008, at south Delhi’s Nelson Mandela Marg, near Vasant Kunj, when she was returning home from work.
According to police, the motive was robbery.
The Saket court also ordered that Rs 1.2 lakh from the fine imposed on four convicts and Rs 7.2 lakh from the Rs 7.25 lakh to be paid by the fifth convict should be released to Soumya’s parents.
The act of four convicts can’t be classified in ‘rarest of rare’ category, hence death penalty can’t be imposed, the court observed.
“It is unfortunate that Soumya, who was a young, dynamic and hard-working journalist, lost her life. In India, the female work participation rate has been declining, and one of the reasons for such decline is that women face a higher risk of abuse and assault while travelling to and from work,” the court said.
The Saket court convicted all five accused of murder and crime with common intention on October 18. They were also pronounced guilty under MCOCA provisions for committing organised crime resulting in the death of a person.