In the early hours of September 30, 2008, TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan was shot in the head while driving home from work and died.
The local police station in Vasant Kunj received a distressing call about the incident at 3:45 a.m, leading to the initiation of a case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder.
She was found dead in her Maruti Zen car with blood oozing from her head. Police also recovered an empty bullet shell from the spot and the the probe began.
After a year-long investigation, a significant breakthrough occurred on March 21, 2009, when the body of techie Jigisha Ghosh was discovered in Faridabad, and three accused — Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, and Baljeet Malik — were arrested in connection with Ghosh’s case.
During interrogations, Malik allegedly disclosed the involvement of the other accused in Vishwanathan’s murder, leading to the arrest of Ajay Kumar and Ajay Sethi.
Kapoor, known for his criminal history, was apprehended in March 2009. He was infamous for car theft and had been arrested multiple times.
The murder weapon, the pistol used in Vishwanathan’s killing, was reportedly found in Kapoor’s possession.
It was suggested that Kapoor initially attempted a robbery, shooting Vishwanathan when she didn’t stop her car.
In custody, Kapoor made attempts to escape included by throwing chilli powder at police and displaying a knife during court hearings.
Shukla, Kapoor’s accomplice, allegedly assisted in the fatal shooting of Vishwanathan. Shukla fled Delhi shortly after the murder, returning just before the Ghosh case.
Malik, a.k.a Poppy, provided a crucial breakthrough by admitting his involvement in the 2008 murder during his arrest in connection with Ghosh’s case. In 2019, Malik sought to expedite the trial, citing the absence of prosecution witnesses and the lack of a special public prosecutor.
Ajay Kumar, a key link in the chain of events, evaded arrest but was eventually apprehended in 2009. He was involved in a court altercation, attacking another accused, Sethi, with a blade.
Sethi, who dealt in stolen vehicles, was unaware that a stolen vehicle he was offered had been used in Vishwanathan’s murder. Originally from Dehradun, he was arrested in April 2009, following four prior arrests before facing charges related to Vishwanathan’s murder.
A Delhi court on Wednesday convicted four accused under MCOCA provisions and one for helping in receiving stolen property. Additional Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey of the Saket Court pronounced the judgement after having it reserved on October 13.
The matter has now been fixed for sentencing on October 26.
On October 13, the judge had given time for additional arguments or clarifications since both the defence and prosecution completed their arguments earlier this month. The court had also directed all the accused to be present in court when the judgement is pronounced.
Meanwhile, the mother of Vishwanathan demanded life imprisonment for all the accused after the court hearing.