Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan’s mother demands life term for convicts; 'Don’t believe in death penalty'text_fields
New Delhi: “We don’t believe in death penalty. We demand life imprisonment for convicts, they should suffer what we went through,” the mother of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, who was shot and killed 15 years ago, Madhavi Vishwanathan, stated.
Madhavi Vishwanathan told reporters that the verdict will serve as a warning for other people who could have been emboldened if her daughter's killers had gone unpunished, shortly after a Delhi court found four persons guilty of killing Soumya Vishwanathan on Wednesday.
The journalist’s father M K Vishwanathan, who spent a sleepless night on Tuesday ahead of the court order, said though his daughter will not come back now, he is happy that justice has been delivered.
Soumya Vishwanathan, who was working with a leading English news channel, was shot dead in the early hours of September 30, 2008, on Nelson Mandela Marg while she was returning home from work in her car. Police had claimed that the motive behind the killing was robbery.
Earlier in the day, the court convicted Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik and Ajay Kumar of an organised crime syndicate for her murder and also under provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), saying the charges against them are “duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt”.
Fifth accused Ajay Sethi was convicted under Section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code and under MCOCA provisions for conspiring to abet, aid or knowingly facilitate organised crime and for receiving the proceeds of organised crime.
The court would hear arguments on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the convicts on October 26.
“We lost our daughter... but I must say this decision will act as a deterrent for others. Otherwise, these people would have gained courage. Now at least one such gang will get punished,” Madhavi Vishwanathan said.
She said their elder daughter, who lives in Kenya’s Nairobi, was convinced that justice would prevail.
M K Vishwanathan told PTI that his family’s 15-year-long struggle for justice has finally borne fruit.
“Justice has been delivered today. My daughter will not come back... we demand life sentence for them (convicts),” he said.
“I really want to thank the authorities, especially Delhi Police officers who worked day and night to arrest the culprits,” he added.
In 2019, Soumya Vishwanathan’s parents met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, seeking a speedy trial and justice for her. They had raised concern over both the pace of the trial and the “quality of efforts” being put into the proceedings by the prosecution.
Asked if he managed to get any sleep last night, M K Vishwanathan said, “How could we? But we are happy today.”
Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) HGS Dhaliwal, who was posted as DCP (South) when Soumya Vishwanathan was murdered and whose team cracked the case, was also present in court.
On seeing Dhaliwal, Madhavi Vishwanathan hugged him and thanked him for his efforts.
Dhaliwal said it was a very challenging case and it took more than six months to crack it.
“Family members of Soumya Vishwanathan kept faith in Delhi Police and did not want the case to be transferred to any central agency. However, the case was challenging as there was no physical contact between the victim and the accused. Only a bullet was fired from a moving vehicle that hit Soumya, killing her,” Dhaliwal told reporters.
He said Soumya Vishwanathan’s family members attended every single review meeting of the case from the day the incident took place till the case was solved.
The recovery of the weapon used in IT executive Jigisha Ghosh’s killing in March 2009 had led to the cracking of Soumya Vishwanathan’s murder case, according to police.
The five people arrested for the journalist’s murder have been in custody since March 2009.
With PTI inputs