Bangalore cabbie found guilty of Pratibha’s murder (Lead)

October 6th, 2010 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 6 (IANS) A cab driver was Wednesday found guilty of rape and murder of a Hewlett-Packard BPO (business process outsourcing) employee Pratibha Murthy here five years ago. The court will announce the punishment Oct 8.

The prosecutor has sought death sentence for the accused cab driver, Shiva Kumar. “The crime was heinous, atrocious and punishment awarded should be deterrent to society. It should be death sentence,” special public prosecutor V.K. Patil said.

Defence counsel Shankarappa argued the case was based on circumstantial evidence, so the court should decide legally.

A sobbing Gowramma, 80-year-old mother of Pratibha, said, “He who raped and murdered my daughter should be hanged. I have to suffer the agony till my death.”

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

The murder had sent shock waves across India’s tech hub, particularly among the thousands of people working in the BPOs and call centres, which work round the clock and hire cabs to pick up and drop their employees.

The cab driver, Shiva Kumar, picked up 28-year-old Pratibha in the wee hours of Dec 13, 2005, took her to an isolated place and allegedly raped and murdered her by slitting her throat. He dumped the body in a pit nearby.

Shiva Kumar, who first confessed to the crime, backtracked and denied all the charges. He went on to say that he was not connected with the case and didn’t even know the BPO employee.

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 have been examined in the case.

The fast track court Judge B.V. Gudli heard the statement of Shiva Kumar and the arguments of prosecutor and defence counsel for nearly four months.

Judge Gudli Sep 27 asked special public prosecutor V.K. Patil and defence counsel Shankarappa if they had any more documents to be submitted before the court. And as the two said there was nothing to add to the arguments, Judge Gudli posted the case for the pronouncement of judgment to Wednesday.

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