Soumya Vishwanathan murder: Four convicts sentenced to life imprisonment

Soumya Vishwanathan was working with a leading English news channel. She was shot dead in the early hours of 30 Sept 2008 on south Delhi's Nelson Mandela Marg while she was returning home from work

TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan was shot dead on 30 September 2008 as she was returning home from work in her car around 3.30 am (photo: National Herald archives)
TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan was shot dead on 30 September 2008 as she was returning home from work in her car around 3.30 am (photo: National Herald archives)
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A Delhi court sentenced four convicts to life imprisonment on Saturday for killing TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan in 2008 while the fifth convict was sent to three years in jail.

While sentencing Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar to life imprisonment, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey also imposed a fine of Rs 1.25 lakh on each of them.

The fifth convict, Ajay Sethi, was sentenced to three years of simple imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 7.25 lakh. The court, however, noted that he had already undergone more than 14 years of imprisonment.

The court also ordered that of the total fine amount imposed on the convicts, Rs 12 lakh will be paid to the victim's family.

Ordering the quantum of punishment, the additional sessions judge said the offence does not fall in the category of rarest of rare cases. So request for death penalty is refused, he said.

During the proceedings, the victim's mother Madhavi Vishwanathan told the court that she has been waiting for justice for over 15 years.

Soumya Vishwanathan, who was working with a leading English news channel, was shot dead in the early hours of 30 September 2008, on south Delhi's Nelson Mandela Marg while she was returning home from work. Police claimed the motive was robbery.

On October 18, the court had convicted Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, and Ajay Kumar under Indian Penal Code section 302 (murder) and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) provisions for committing organised crime resulting in the death of any person.


Ajay Sethi was convicted under IPC section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) and MCOCA provisions for conspiring to abet, aid, or knowingly facilitate organised crime and receiving proceeds of organised crime.

According to the prosecution, Ravi Kapoor shot Vishwanathan with a country-made pistol on 30 September 2008 on Nelson Mandela Marg in South Delhi while chasing the victim's car to rob her. Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Malik were also with Kapoor.

Police recovered the car used in the murder from the fifth accused Ajay Sethi alias Chacha.

A timeline of the case:

30 September 2008: Vishwanathan shot dead while returning home from work in her car around 3:30 am. Police claim robbery was the motive behind the killing.

March 2009: Police claim breakthrough in the case following recovery of weapon used in the killing of IT executive Jigisha Ghosh.

28 March 2009: Five men -- Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, Ajay Kumar and Ajay Sethi -- arrested for killing Vishwanathan.

22 June 2009: First charge sheet filed against the five accused.

6 February 2010: Charges framed against the accused under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

9 May 2011: Charges framed against the accused under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

23 April 2010: Trial begins, prosecution starts submitting evidence.

February 2019: Malik moves the Delhi High Court with a plea for a speedy trial.

6 February 2019: Vishwanathan's parents approach Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for a speedy trial in the case.

27 February 2019: The Delhi High Court orders expeditious trial and directs the trial court to hear the matter at least thrice a week.

March 2022: Prosecution completes submitting evidence. Court begins recording evidence of the accused.

May 2023: Recording of evidence concludes. Final arguments commence.

6 October 2023: Final arguments by the defence and prosecution conclude.

13 October 2023: Court reserves its verdict.

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Published: 25 Nov 2023, 5:26 PM
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