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HC seeks police response to accused's plea in TV journalist murder case

New Delhi

31-January-2019

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the city police to file a response to an accused's plea seeking speedy disposal of trial in the 2008 TV journalist Saumya Vishwanathan murder case and compensation of Rs 1 crore.

Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to the police and listed the matter for hearing on February 26.

The court was hearing the plea of one of the accused Baljeet Singh Malik through advocate Amit Kumar.

Malik has sought the court's direction to the trial court to expedite and conclude the trial of the present case in a fixed time frame on a day to day basis.

He has also sought direction to compensate him with Rs 1 crore on account of the unreasonable and inordinate delay in investigation and trial of the present case.

Malik told the court that he will spend the compensation amount claimed herein for the welfare of undertrial prisoners in Tihar Jail.

The counsel said Malik has been deprived of his right of having a speedy investigation.

As per settled law by the apex court, every citizen has a right to a speedy trial of the case pending against him.

He told the court that he was a 20-year-old in 2008 when the case was registered. He was arrested on March 28, 2009 and since then he has been languishing in jail and facing trial as an undertrial prisoner.

Delhi Police said that Saumya Vishwanathan was shot dead on September 30, 2008 when she was returning home in her car from office in the wee hours.

"It is submitted that it's been more than nine and a half years since the date of arrest of the petitioner (Malik) but the respondent has not been able to conclude the trial of the present case so far," the plea read.

The trial is pending before the session court in Saket.

The prosecution has cited around 88 witnesses in their chargesheet and supplementary chargesheet, and till date, less than 60 per cent of the cited witnesses have been examined.

That being charged with the stringent provisions of MCOCA, Malik has not been able to get regular bail, the advocate said in the plea.-IANS