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Saumya Vishwanathan murder: Delhi HC admits four appeals challenging conviction and life sentence for murder

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday admitted four appeals against conviction and double life for murdering journalist Saumya Vishwanathan.
A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain admitted the appeals moved by four convicts Ravi Kapoor, Baljeet Singh Malik, Amit Shukla and Ajay Kumar challenging the order of the trial court. The High Court will hear the appeals in due course.
Meanwhile, the high court has issued notice to Delhi police for February 12, on the applications seeking suspension of sentence (bail) during the pendency of appeals.
The Nominal rolls of convicts have also been called from the Jail.
The counsel for Ravi Kapoor submitted that he is in custody for more than 14 years.
They were convicted of murder and running a crime syndicate. The court had directed that convicts shall undergo the life sentence consecutively.
Convicts Ravi Kapoor, Baljeet Singh Malik, Amit Shukla and Ajay Kumar have filed appeals through Advocate Amit Kumar and others challenging the judgment of October 18, 2023, and sentence for an offence under section 302/34 IPC read with Section 3( 1 )(I) of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999.
They also sought suspension of sentence during the pendency of appeals.
In this case, an FIR was registered u/s 302 IPC at Police Station Vasant Kunj in 2008.
In this case, the trial court convicted Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Singh Malik, Ajay Kumar and Ajay Sethi.
The trial court had passed an order on Sentence dated November 25, 2023, passed by the court at Saket Courts, whereby convicts were sentenced to imprisonment of life along with a fine of Rs. 25,000 for the commission of an offence punishable under section 302 IPC.
The appellant Baljeet Singh Malik further sentenced to imprisonment for life along with a fine of Rs. 1,00,000 for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 3(l)(i) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999.
It was ordered that in case the appellant failed to make the payment of a total fine of Rs. 1,25,000, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for 6 months.
It was further ordered that the sentences awarded to the appellant u/s 302 IPC and under section 3(l)(i) of MCOCA, 1999 shall run consecutively.
It was further ordered that in case the total fine amount of Rs. 1,25,000 is paid by
the appellant, a sum of Rs. 1,20,000 be released as compensation to the parents of the deceased/victim and a sum of Rs. 4,000 be deposited to the State as litigation expenses in terms of guideline of judgment titled as "'Karan Verma Vs. State of NCT of Delhi" and Rs.
1000 be deposited as a fine to the State.
On October 18, 2023, While convicting the accused persons Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Ravindra Kumar Pandey held that the accused persons were involved in criminal activities, they were members of an organised crime syndicate.
The court had said that the prosecution has also duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt the charge of an offence punishable Under section 3 (1) (i) of the MCOC Act against the accused Ravi Kapoor and co-accused persons namely Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Malik and accordingly, they are held guilty and convicted for the charge of commission of an offence punishable under section 3 (1) (i) of MCOC Act, 1999.
The court also convicted four accused Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Malik for the offence of murder.
"The Court is of the considered view that the prosecution has duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt that accused Ravi Kapoor and his other associate's co-accused Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Malik had murdered the victim Saumya Vishwanathan with intention to rob her on September 30, 2008, in between 03.25 am to 03.55 am at Nelson Mandela Marg," the judge said.
They are accordingly held guilty and convicted for a charge of an offence punishable under section 302/34 IPC, judgement read.
ASJ Pandey had said, "Prosecution has duly proved by producing the circumstantial evidence, scientific evidence and eyewitnesses who identified the accused persons Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar, Baljeet Singh Malik to corroborate the confessional statement of the accused Ravi Kapoor as recorded Under section 18 of the MCOC Act to establish the fact that accused Ravi Kapoor in furtherance of common intention with the accused persons Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Singh Malik had murdered the deceased/victim Saumya Vishwanathan with the bullet fired by country-made pistol."
"It is proved from the above discussion that accused Ajay Sethi used to provide the necessary facilities to the co-accused Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar in the commission of the offence of the organized crime syndicate led by accused Ravi Kapoor," the court said in the judgement.
The court also said that the prosecution has also duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt that accused Ajay Sethi retained knowingly and intentionally the offending car originally stolen from Vasant Kunj and he is accordingly held guilty and convicted for the charge of offence punishable Under section 411 IPC.
They have been also convicted under sections of MCOCA. While convicting him the court said that the prosecution had also duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt that accused Ajay Sethi abetted or knowingly facilitated the commission of organized crime by the organized crime syndicate led by accused Ravi Kapoor having its other members Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, Ajay Kumar.
"He also used to hold the property derived or obtained from the proceeds of organized crime of the organized crime syndicate and the charge regarding the same for the commission of an offence punishable under MCOCA, "ASJ Pandey held.
Accordingly, he is held guilty and convicted for the charge of an offence punishable U/s 3 (2) of MCOC Act and charge of an offence punishable U/s 3 (5) of MCOC Act, 1999," ASJ Pandey said.
As per prosecution on September 30, 2008, between 03.25 am to 03.55 am, near Pole No. 78, at Nelson Mandela Marg, New Delhi, the accused persons namely Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Singh Malik had murdered the deceased/victim Saumya Vishwanathan, daughter of M. K. Vishwanathan by firing the bullet through country made pistol to rob her.
The said bullet was fired by the accused Ravi Kapoor while targeting the victim when the accused persons were chasing the victim's car through the accused person's car being driven by the accused Ravi Kapoor in order to rob the victim.
It was further alleged that the victim was chased by the accused persons when she was returning from her office to her home and the accused persons chased the victim's car to rob her as she was travelling alone in her car.
It was alleged against the co-accused Ajay Sethi that on April 6, 2009, at the parking of Sector -14, Faridabad, Haryana Market, he was found in possession of a stolen car belonging to Gaurav Singh. The said car was used in the commission of offence against the deceased/victim Saumya Vishwanathan by the other co accused persons namely Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar.
It was a further allegation against the accused Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, and Ajay Kumar alias Ajay that after the arrest of the accused persons namely Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla and Baljeet Malik in the Jigisha Ghosh murder case their criminal activities were studied during the investigation.
It was found that accused Ravi Kapoor and his other associates/co-accused persons were involved in continuous unlawful activities by involving themselves in cases in which violence or threat of violence was used for their joint pecuniary benefits for their livelihood and they were found to be members of organized crime syndicate led by accused Ravi Kapoor.

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