One of the two death row convicts in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case has moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and the sentence awarded to him by the trial court.
Convict Amit Shukla, who along with accused Ravi Kapoor was handed down death penalty has approached the high court, saying the trial court has awarded him the capital punishment by “wrongly holding that the case falls in the category of rarest of rare”.
The trial court on July 14 held Kapoor, Shukla and Baljeet Malik guilty on various counts, including the murder of 28-year-old IT executive Jigisha. The court while sentencing Kapoor and Shukla to death on August 22, had said the girl was killed in a “cold-blooded, inhuman and cruel manner” and “brutally mauled to death”.
The third offender Baljeet Malik was given reprieve from the gallows for his good conduct in jail. Malik has already challenged his conviction and sentence of life imprisonment by the trial court before the high court.
While seeking setting aside of his conviction and order on sentence, Shukla through his counsel Amit Kumar said the trial court has committed error by awarding death penalty simply on the basis of biased jail/probation report about his client. “It has also not been noticed that for the similar offence one of the convict has been sentenced for life imprisonment,” the appeal, which would come up for hearing on September 15, said.
Meanwhile, the trial court, which has awarded death to two of the accused has sent the case file to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of the capital punishment. It is mandatory for a 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.
The trial court had also imposed varying fines on the convicts, with Kapoor being slapped with a fine of Rs 1.2 lakh due to his inability to pay, while Shukla and Malik were directed to pay Rs 2.8 lakh and Rs 5.8 lakh respectively as 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.
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 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.