Four men convicted for the murder of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan in 2008 were on Saturday sentenced to life imprisonment by an additional sessions court in Delhi, reported NDTV. A fifth convict has been given a three-year prison term.
The court declined to impose the death penalty stating that “their offence does not fall in the category of rarest of rare cases”, News18 reported.
Vishwanathan was shot dead in her car around 3.30 am on South Delhi’s Nelson Mandela Marg in September 2008 when she was driving home from work. Five people were arrested for the murder and remained in custody since March 2009. The police claimed that the motive behind the murder was robbery.
The four convicts sentenced to life are Ravi Kapoor, who shot Viswanathan using a country-made pistol, Amit Shukla, Balkeet Malik and Ajay Kumar. They have been directed to pay a fine of Rs 1.25 lakh each.
Ajay Sethi, the fifth convict, has been fined Rs 5 lakh. The total quantum of fines, at Rs 12 lakh, will be given to Vishwanathan’s family.
On October 18, the additional sessions judge had convicted the convicts under Section 302 (murder) and Section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code as well as provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
The Act, first enacted in Maharashtra, was extended to the National Capital Region by the Union government in 2002.
The judge also held the four guilty of loot.
The Vishwanathan murder case saw a breakthrough when the police were investigating the killing of Jigisha Ghosh, an IT professional, in 2009. Kapoor, Malik and Shukla had been arrested in connection with Ghosh’s killing. During the questioning, the police found their links to Vishwanathan’s murder.
Kapoor, Malik and Shukla have been convicted for Ghosh’s murder as well.