Saumya Vishwanathan (1982-2008) was an Indian journalist who was murdered in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj on 30 September 2008.
Saumya Vishwanathan was born on Wednesday, 8 December 1982 (age 25 years; at the time of death) in New Dehli. Her zodiac sign was Sagittarius.
She pursued her graduation in journalism from Kamala Nehru College, affiliated with the University of Delhi, and later studied broadcast journalism at the Indian Institute Of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal, Odisha.The Indian Express
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father, MK Vishwanathan, worked with Voltas. He hails from Kuttippuram, Kerala. Viswanathan Mk – Facebook Her mother, Madhavi Vishwanathan, worked as a lecturer at Delhi University before switching to a private firm later. Her elder sister, Shubha Viswanath, lives in Nairobi, Kenya.
Husband & Children
She was unmarried.
In February 2008, she joined Headlines Today (now India Today), where she worked as a news producer before she was killed in September 2008. On the day of her murder, she stayed back at the office as she was working on a news story on two bomb blasts, one in Malegaon in Maharashtra and the other in Gujarat. Previously, she had also worked at CNN-IBN.
Soumya Vishwanathan Murder Case
On 30 September 2008, Soumya was killed near her home in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. She was found dead in her car (a Maruti Zen) with a gunshot wound on her head. She was working as a news producer with Headlines Today news channel. That night, she had stayed back late to help out with a breaking news event. She left her office in Jhandewalan at 3:03 a.m. and started driving towards her home in Vasant Kunj. On her way back, Soumya overtook a WagonR occupied by four men, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljit Malik, and Akshay Kumar. The four men noticed that the woman driver who overtook them was alone and started following her. They asked Soumya to stop the car, but she was listening to music and didn’t hear them. Consequently, Kapoor fired at her with a countrymade weapon (Desi Katta). The bullet hit her on the head and killed her instantly. Meanwhile, the car crashed against a divider on Nelson Mandela Marg and came to a halt. Around 3.45 a.m., a staff of a nearby restaurant cycling home noticed Soumya’s car and called the cops. Soumya was rushed to AIIMS, where she was declared dead. At first, the killers fled the scene, but they returned 20 minutes later to check the victim’s condition. When they saw the police at the crime scene, they fled again. The investigation in the case was conducted under HGS Dhaliwal, a police officer from Delhi South District.
Police made a breakthrough in Soumya’s murder case while investigating the murder of another woman named Jigisha Ghosh in March 2009. Ghosh was murdered and looted by Ravi Kapoor and his gang. The police tracked down the killers by tracing the transactions carried out on Jigisha’s stolen ATM card. The killers had used it to buy shoes, a TV, and a watch in Saket and Sarojini Nagar. Police came across a blurred CCTV footage that showed three suspects buying a watch. In the footage, they discovered one of the accused was well-built and had a tattoo on his left wrist and another was carrying a wireless set and wearing a cap. Soon, a police team started visiting gyms in Vasant Vihar, Vasant Kunj, Malviya Nagar and Saket. A gym instructor in Masoodpur village in Vasant Kunj identified Baljeet Malik alias Poppy. Malik had his name inked on his hand, while Kapoor used to carry a wireless set which he had snatched from a police officer. The Indian Express Consequently, the killers were arrested. During interrogation, Malik confessed that they were involved in the murder case of another woman, who turned out to be Soumya. In 2017, the trial court handed death sentences to Ravi Kapoor and Amit Shukla, and a life sentence to Baljeet Malik in the Jigisha Ghosh murder case. However, in 2018, Delhi HC commuted the death sentences of Kapoor and Shukla. It took fifteen years to bring them to justice. On 13 October 2023, Delhi court convicted five men in connection with Soumya’s murder. Four accused, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla, Baljit Malik, and Akshay Kumar, were held guilty of murder and loot. They faced charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) as well as charges of murder (Section 302), robbery (Section 390) and common intent (Section 34) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The fifth, Ajay Sethi, was held guilty of helping the others. India Today
Prime Accused In Soumya’s Murder Case
Until his arrest in March 2009, Ravi Kapoor was reportedly known to be a car thief and a police informer. Kapoor and his gang had murdered TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, IT executive Jigisha Ghosh, and a cab driver, all of them on one south Delhi stretch. Kapoor often disguised himself as a cop, judge, or doctor. Kapoor and his gang would evade suspicion by pretending to be police informants and driving official police vehicles. So, when he and his companions carried out the three murders, the police didn’t even suspect him. They often hung out with some South Delhi policemen, giving them wrong information and cleverly extracting probe updates from them. Aware of how the investigations were progressing, they stayed ahead of the cops at every step. The Times of India
Reportedly, Shukla left Delhi two days after Vishwanathan was killed in 2008 and came back to Delhi only a week before Ghosh was murdered in 2009.
Malik, who was also known as Poppy, was the person whose confession gave the police its much-needed breakthrough into the murder case. When Malik, Kapoor, and Shukla, were in police custody in connection with Ghosh’s killing, he admitted to his involvement in the 2008 murder of Soumya.
Ajay Kumar was still on the run till he was arrested in 2009. In 2010, during one of his court hearings at the Patiala House Court Complex, Kumar reportedly attacked Ajay Sethi, another accused in the case, with a blade.
The Delhi Police reported that Sethi was not directly involved in the murder. Sethi dealt in stolen vehicles and claimed he was unaware that the stolen vehicle that Kapoor was trying to sell him was used in the murder of Vishwanathan. He hailed from Dehradun and was living in Faridabad at the time of the murder and was arrested in April 2009.