After decade-long trial, Soumya’s parents still waiting for justice

Write to Chief Minister about slow progress in the case

February 07, 2019 01:44 am | Updated 01:44 am IST - New Delhi

Soumya’s parents — M.K. Viswanathan and Madhavi — at their residence in New Delhi.

Soumya’s parents — M.K. Viswanathan and Madhavi — at their residence in New Delhi.

The “interest” of the State in getting them justice for their daughter, who was killed in 2008, has gone down along side its visibility in the media, wrote the parents of slain scribe Soumya Viswanathan to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday.

“It has been seemingly replaced by a meandering sense of apathy with which the proceedings related to the trial in the case were taking place,” they said.

In its tenth year, after seeing the “slow progress” and the “quality of efforts” by the prosecution in the ongoing trial at Saket courts, her father M.K. Viswanathan in an email to Mr. Kejriwal and the Ministry of Home Affairs, said he hopes for a “concrete response” as it is a matter of “serious concern”.

“We are seriously concerned about the pace at which the trial is moving and the quality of efforts being put in the proceedings by the prosecution. Hollow assurances from authorities have tired us out and we sincerely hope for a concrete response from you at the earliest,” the communication said.

Assured again and again

A spokesperson for the Delhi government said it would ensure “the best possible course of action” in response to the demands made by Viswanathan.

“We had stayed extremely patient and supportive of the system in the face of changes in courts, judges and public prosecutors more than once. Though we know the verdict cannot bring our daughter back, but it is time the system proves that it will not let us down,” her parents said.

Viswanathan was shot dead on September 30, 2008, when she was returning home from work. The 25-year-old was employed at an English language television channel.

In 2009, five people were arrested on charges of murder and are presently in police custody as the trial continues to unfold over a decade.

“A recent change in the public prosecutor has raised our concerns as I was once again absent from the court on the date of the last hearing [Feb 2],” said Mr. Viswanathan in his email.

He said unlike the first prosecutor in the case, the current and the previous public prosecutors had been “unresponsive” in giving any updates to his family on the progress and hence betraying what they termed “a meandering sense of apathy”.

“The judge hearing the case had been considerate of the delay in this trial and has been kind enough to allot hearing dates at frequent intervals but these dates continue to get wasted because of no-show of either lawyers or witnesses or both,” the email read.

“We urge you to help us get the best possible prosecution talent appointed in this case. In case the current prosecutor is overloaded or unable to focus on this case for any reason, please appoint a special prosecutor to help move things along....Request the public prosecutor to be responsive to us, in providing periodic updates on the case, since we are no longer based full time in Delhi,” the letter said.

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