NEW DELHI: Seven years after the abduction and brutal murder of IT professional Jigisha Ghosh, a Delhi court on Monday awarded death penalty to two of the accused, Ravi Kapoor and Amit Shukla. The judge said the magnitude and brutality of the murder satisfied the criterion of ‘rarest of the rare’ for capital punishment to be handed down.
The 28-year-old operations manager of Hewitt Associates, a management consultancy firm, was abducted and killed on March 18, 2009 after she was dropped by her office cab around 4 am near her home in Vasant Vihar in Delhi. A third accused, Baljeet Singh Malik, was sentenced to life imprisonment. The three convicts are also accused of murdering TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan on September 30, 2008 while she was returning home from office.
Kapoor and Shukla looked on impassively as additional sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav read out his sentence while Malik seemed shocked. Jigish Ghosh’s parents said justice has been done to their daughter. “I hoped that the two convicts would get the death penalty and that is exactly what has happened,” mother Savita Ghosh said.
The court also imposed a fine of `1.1 lakh on Kapoor, `2.8 lakh on Shukla, and `5.8 lakh on Malik and directed that `6 lakh of that money be given to Jigisha’s parents as compensation.
“The offence was committed in a cold-blooded, inhuman and cruel manner. An innocent, helpless and vulnerable victim remained in the captivity of the convicts for hours,” judge Yadav observed. To save herself, Jigisha gave her captors her debit card and its PIN number and begged to be spared. “The convicts were satisfied only by brutally mauling her to death.”
“In other words, the convicts behaved in an uncivilised and barbaric manner against a helpless girl. It is the level, magnitude and degree of brutality, attitude and mindset of the wrongdoers along with other factors which makes it a rarest of the rare case,” the court noted. Judge Yadav added his observations that gruesome crimes against women were on the rise and showing leniency to culprits would send a wrong message to society. The prosecutor, Rajiv Mohan, also sought maximum punishment for the convicts.