Supreme Court to Review Bail of Convicts in Soumya Vishwanathan Murder Case

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to re-examine the bail granted by a high court to four individuals convicted of the murder of television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan. Justices Bela M Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma have issued notices in response to the Delhi Police’s appeals challenging the high court’s decision, which suspended the life sentences of the convicts during their appeal process.

The convicts, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik, and Ajay Kumar, had been granted bail by the high court on February 12, after noting that they had already spent over 14 years in custody. Their sentencing last November included two consecutive life terms under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and section 3 of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the Delhi Police, requested that these new pleas be consolidated with an ongoing petition filed by Vishwanathan’s mother, Madhavi Vishwanathan. The apex court had previously agreed to hear her petition against the bail on April 22 and had issued notices to both the police and the convicts involved.

Soumya Vishwanathan was fatally shot on September 30, 2008, while driving home from work on Nelson Mandela Marg in south Delhi. The prosecution has argued that the motive behind the murder was robbery. The trial revealed that Kapoor executed the murder using a country-made pistol while attempting to rob Vishwanathan in her car, with Shukla, Kumar, and Malik as accomplices.

This case drew significant attention due to the brutal nature of the crime and its impact on public safety in the capital, especially for working women. The Supreme Court’s decision to revisit the bail decision underscores the legal complexities and emotional weight involved in high-profile criminal cases.

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The court has also reviewed the related case of IT professional Jigisha Ghosh, who was killed by the same group of individuals. Kapoor and Shukla received the death penalty in the Ghosh murder case, which was later commuted to life imprisonment by the high court, which upheld Malik’s life sentence.

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