The Delhi High Court on Monday suspended the sentences of four life convicts in the Saumya Vishwanathan murder case.
The division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Girish Kathpaliya suspended the sentences till the pendency of their appeals in the matter.
Advocate Amit Kumar appeared for Baljeet Malik and Amit Shukla and submitted that they have been in custody for 14 years and 10 months.
The trial court sentenced Ravi Kapoor, Ajay Kumar, Baljeet Malik, and Amit Shukla to life term after convicting them of murder and other offenses under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The Delhi High Court had on January 23, issued notice to the Delhi police on a plea seeking suspension of sentence (bail) till the disposal of their appeals against conviction and sentence.
Their appeals against conviction and double life have been admitted by the High Court.
The nominal rolls of convicts were called from the jail.
They were convicted for murder and running a crime syndicate. The court had directed that convicts 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 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 under section 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 life imprisonment along with fine of Rs 25,000 for commission of offence punishable under section 302 IPC.
The appellant, Baljeet Singh Malik, was further sentenced to imprisonment for life along with a fine of Rs 1,00,000 for the commission of an offense punishable under Section 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 a period of 6 months.
It was further ordered that the sentences awarded to the appellant under Section 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 the guidelines of judgment titled "'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 and were members of an organized crime syndicate.
The court had said that the prosecution has also duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt the charge of 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 offence punishable under Section 3 (1) (i) of the 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 prosecution has duly proved beyond all reasonable doubt that accused Ravi Kapoor and his other associates, co-accused Amit Shukla, Ajay Kumar and Baljeet Malik, committed murder of the victim Saumya Vishwanathan with the intention to rob her on September 30, 2008, in between 03.25 am and 03.55 am at Nelson Mandela Marg," the judge said.
They are accordingly held guilty and convicted for the 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, and 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 a 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 offense 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 a charge of an offense punishable under Section 411 IPC.
They have also been convicted under sections of MCOCA. While convicting him, the court said that the prosecution has 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, with its other members Amit Shukla, Baljeet Malik, and 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 offense punishable under MCOCA, "ASJ Pandey held.
Accordingly, he is held guilty and convicted for the charge of an offense punishable under Section 3 (2) of the MCOC Act and the charge of an offense punishable under Section 3 (5) of the MCOC Act, 1999," ASJ Pandey said.
As per prosecution on September 30, 2008, between 03.25 am and 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 deceased/victim Saumya Vishwanathan, daughter of MK Vishwanathan, by firing the bullet through a country-made pistol to rob her.
The said bullet was fired by Ravi Kapoor at Saumya Vishwanathan while they were chasing her car.
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 in order to rob her as she was travelling alone in her car.
It was an allegation against the co-accused, Ajay Sethi, that on April 6, 2009, at the parking lot 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 the 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 found that accused Ravi Kapoor and his other associates/co-accused persons were involved in continuous unlawful activities by involving themselves in the 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 an organized crime syndicate led by accused Ravi Kapoor.