A court convicted on Thursday three men of murdering IT professional Jigisha Ghosh, who was abducted after the office car dropped her around 4am near her Delhi home seven years ago.
The three convicts abducted 28-year-old Jigisha, an operations manager with Hewitt Associate Pvt Ltd at its Noida office, and robbed her of her gold jewellery, two mobile phones, and debit and credit cards on March 18, 2009.
Her body was found near Surajkund in Haryana, about 20km from her Vasant Vihar home.
The trio — Ravi Kapoor, Amit Shukla and Baljit Singh Malik — was arrested within a week, as police followed digital footprints after the suspects used Jigisha’s ATM cards to buy expensive goggles, wristwatches and shoes at Sarojini Nagar Market in southern Delhi.
They got nailed after police identified them from CCTV footage. Malik’s hand tattoo busted the gang as the shop’s surveillance camera captured the image when the trio was out shopping.
The trio disclosed to police during cross-examination they had shot dead television journalist Soumya Vishwanathan as well, when she was driving home after a night shift in office on September 30, 2008. The murder weapon, a gun, was recovered from them.
They strangulated Jigisha to death, and to throw investigators off-track, they threw one of her mobile phones in a moving truck and another on the road, police said.
Ending a trial that dragged for six years, the court held the trio guilty of murder, abduction and robbery in the sensational case that riveted the nation, and sparked a public debate on safety of working women.
“They committed the murder and disposed of her body in bushes, and circumstantial evidence makes it clear that these men committed the crime,” the court of additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav said.
“There is no missing link … hence, innocence is ruled out.”
The quantum of punishment will be decided after the court concludes hearing arguments from both sides, beginning August 20. The court sought a report on the behaviour of the three convicts in jail.
It directed the Delhi government to appoint an officer to check if the convicts could continue to be threats to society.
Kapoor is a known extortionist, who had posed as a cop to extort people. Shukla, who was police informer, is another extortionist wanted for ransom calls to builders in Mumbai and Hyderabad. He had allegedly made extortion calls from jail as well. Accomplice Malik was the rookie; arrested for the first time after Jigisha’s murder.
Jigisha’s mother, Sabita, said the court’s verdict has given her a reason to live.
“My husband and I are merely alive and breathing. The image of her body lying lifeless in the bushes haunts me every day. She gave them all her money, cards and jewellery. Why did they have to take her life?” she said, demanding death penalty for the killers.
The verdict also gave to Soumya Vishwanathan’s parents. “They are satisfied with the court’s order and now we are waiting for the legal conclusion of our daughter’s murder case,” her father said.
(With agency inputs)