A trial court, which has sentenced two convicts in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case to death, has sent the case file to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of the capital punishment.
Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav has sent the case record relating to the conviction and death sentence of Ravi Kapoor and Amit Shukla to the high court, court sources said.
It is mandatory for the trial court to refer a death penalty case to a high court for confirmation of sentence within 30 days of the pronouncement of the verdict.
Yadav had on July 14 held the duo guilty on various counts, including the murder of 28-year-old IT executive Jigisha Ghosh.
The court while sentencing the two to death here on August 22, said the girl was killed in a “cold-blooded, inhuman and cruel manner” and “brutally mauled to death”.
It had said the magnitude and brutality exhibited by the convicts made the case ‘rarest of rare’, warranting capital punishment for Kapoor and Shukla. The third offender Baljeet Malik was given reprieve from the gallows for his good conduct in jail.
The two have not yet challenged the trial court judgement. However, Malik through his counsel Amit Kumar, has moved the high court challenging his conviction and sentence of life imprisonment by the trial court.
Malik in his appeal, has stated that the trial court has “failed to appreciate that there has been contradictions and discrepancies in the depositions of the prosecution witnesses (PWs) and, therefore conviction and the sentence awarded to him is liable to be set aside”.
“The trial court has failed to appreciate that the prosecution has planted PW-2… as a last seen witness with intent to falsely proving the presence of the appellant in the company of deceased (Jigisha) at about 4.45 AM on March 18, 2009 at SBI ATM at Mahipalpur.
“The presence of PW-2, who has been falsely shown as a last seen witness, is extremely improbable and doubtful, and, therefore his deposition with regard to being last seen witness cannot be considered credible and probable evidence.” the appeal has said. The court had also imposed varying fines on the convicts, with Kapoor being slapped with a fine of Rs 1.2 lakh due to his incapacity to pay, while Shukla and Malik were directed to pay Rs 2.8 lakh and Rs 5.8 lakh respectively as the pre-sentencing report suggested they were financially stronger.
The trio are also facing trial for the murder of TV journalist Soumya Viswanathan, killed a year before Jigisha.
The court had said leniency cannot be shown to these convicts as there was a rise of gruesome crimes against women which needed to be dealt with in an appropriate sentence.
It had also directed that out of the total fine of Rs 9.8 lakh, Rs six lakh be paid to the parents of the victim, and an adequate compensation amount be decided by the District Legal Service Authority (South).
It had on July 14 convicted the three men, saying it was “abundantly clear” that they had committed the crime.
It had held the three men guilty under several sections of IPC, including 302 (murder), 364 (abducting for murder), 201 (destruction of evidence), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document).
The additional sessions judge, however, held that the charge of criminal conspiracy (120-B of IPC) could not be proved against them.
The police had filed the charge sheet in the case in June 2009, stating that Jigisha’s post-mortem report revealed that she was killed by smothering. The trial in the case began in April 2010.
Recovery of the weapon allegedly used in Jigisha’s murder had led to cracking of the murder case of Soumya Vishwanathan, who was a journalist with a news channel.
Soumya was shot dead on September 30, 2008 while she was returning home in her car from office in the wee hours.
The police had claimed robbery as the motive behind the killings of both Jigisha and Soumya.