Bangalore driver found guilty of techie’s murder (Second Lead)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BANGALORE - A fast track court Wednesday convicted cab driver Shiva Kumar for the gruesome rape and murder five years ago of Hewlett Packard (HP) India employee Pratibha Murthy and decided to announce the punishment Oct 8.

Delivering the much-awaited judgment in the sensational case that rocked this tech hub, sessions judge B.V. Gudli said accused Kumar was guilty of the crime under various sections (302, 364,366 and 376) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The prosecutor sought death sentence to the accused.

“The crime was heinous, atrocious and punishment awarded should be deterrent to society. It should be death sentence,” special public prosecutor V.K. Patil told the court.

Defence counsel Shankarappa, however, argued that the case was based on circumstantial evidence and hence the court should decide accordingly.

After the judgment, Pratibha’s 80-year-old mother Gowramma told reporters outside the court that Kumar should be hanged as he had raped and murdered her daughter.

“He (Kumar) should be hanged. I have to suffer the agony of my daughter till my death,” a sobbing Gowramma said.

Echoing Gowramma, Pratibha’s uncle N. Srinivas said the exemplary sentence should be a lesson to others so that they do not commit such a crime.

The shocking incident took place in the wee hours of Dec 13, 2005 when Pratibha, 28, was picked up by the accused from her house for the graveyard shift (late night duty) in the HP office in the electronics city, about 30km from city centre.

Pratiba’s body was found with her throat slit in a pit near Anjanapura layout on the outskirts of south Bangalore.

Though Kumar first confessed to the crime, later he backtracked and denied all the charges.

The trial has been going on in the courts for four and a half years. It began in a sessions court in Bangalore in January 2007 and was shifted to a fast track court in December 2009.

A total of 71 witnesses had been examined in the case.

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