A shattering loss, an investigation lasting six months and, finally, the arrest of a five-member gang of highwaymen who allegedly murdered their 25-year-old daughter for money.
But justice, say Soumya Vishwanathan's parents, continues to elude their journalist daughter's soul as much as the systemic delay helps her murderers evade the punishment for their crime(s) even after three years.
“All the four accused, according to the police, are involved in as many as 12 to 13 cases, including that of Soumya's murder. Though they were arrested in 2009 and are lodged at the Tihar Jail, doesn't a delay in the verdict equals to justice being denied?” asked her mother Madhavi Vishwanathan.
Soumya, aged 25 then, and employed at Headlines Today, was returning to her C9 Vasant Kunj residence from her office in Central Delhi's Jhandewalan when the incident took place.
It was on September 30, 2008, that Vishwanathan was allegedly waylaid, robbed and finally shot by a gang comprising Ajay Sethi, Ravi Kapoor, Amit Kumar Shukla, Baljit Malik and Ajay Kumar.
“The accused kept delaying the trial on one pretext or the other; kept attacking other inmates with whatever weapons they could get their hands on even after they were sent to jail. They keep appearing at court dates — that's all that the long-winding system has ensured so far,” said MK Vishwanathan, Soumya's father.
The Viswanathans said they marked the third death anniversary of their daughter by feeding the poor at the Guruvayur temple on Wednesday evening.
“I don't want my daughter's murderers to be hanged, it would be too easy a punishment. They should be kept behind bars for life,” Madhavi said.
The Vishwanathans, it seems, will have to wait longer to see if their wish comes true.