Rasila Raju OP, the Infosys engineer who was found strangled at her work place in Pune on Sunday, was working alone in her ninth-floor office on a weekend when a watchman allegedly approached her on the pretext of fixing a computer cable and later murdered her.
Police arrested a private guard on Monday for the murder of the 25-year-old techie and recounted the murder after catching the fugitive Bhaben Saikia, a 26-year-old from Assam, from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at Mumbai early on Monday.
According to deputy commissioner of police Ganesh Shinde, entry into the office is restricted and Saikia could enter the office only because he followed Rasila, who gained access using a swipe card, to her workstation on the pretext of fixing the LAN cable and noting down her computer’s serial number.
The guard’s presence made her uncomfortable. He was “staring”, provoking her to warn that she would complain against him for stalking her. He then asked Rasila not to complain against him for “staring” at her the previous day, Shinde said.
“When she refused to back off leading to an argument, he pulled out the cable and strangulated her in a fit of rage. The guard also hit her face with his shoes, injuring her nose,” said Shinde. As it was a Sunday, there was no one in the office on the ninth floor of the Infosys facility.
While there was no CCTV camera installed near her workstation, the police zeroed in on Saikia based on the last-seen theory by gathering footage from other CCTV cameras installed at different locations. “The CCTV footage showed Saikia was the last person entering Rasila’s section of the office. When we tried to trace him, his mobile location showed he was on the way to Mumbai,” said Shinde.
After killing Rasila around 5pm, Saikia stayed in the campus till his shift was over by around 6:30pm. “His colleagues told us there was no stress showing on his face,” said assistant police commissioner, Vaishali Jadhav.
Rasila, a Kerala native, was at a workstation hidden from surveillance cameras at the tech giant’s office in Pune’s Hinjewadi IT park. But police could pinpoint the suspect as just a handful of people work at the facility on a Sunday evening.
Suspect Saikia worked with a private security firm and was deputed at Infosys six months ago, police said. A background check at the time of appointment had shown no previous record of crime.
Rasila joined Infosys around two years ago in Bengaluru after getting her BTech degree from a Tamil Nadu college. She was transferred to Pune six months ago.
Rasila’s mother died of cancer two years ago, while brother Rijeesh works abroad.
Her family from Kozhikode in Kerala said she was seeking a transfer back to Bengaluru. “Had she been shifted to Bengaluru or anywhere in south India, she would have been alive now,” said father Raju O, a retired soldier who is now working as a home guard in his home state.
The family accused Infosys of security lapses, asking why a female guard was not on duty when a lone woman was working.
“They called my daughter to the office on Sunday which was her weekly off,” said her father.
Further, Rasila’s maternal uncle Manoj alleged that the guard was making “advances” to his niece and she complained about it to company officials.
“But no action was taken. We will file a complaint for a detailed inquiry,” he said.
Police too have decided to seek an explanation from Infosys about the security slip.
Pune police commissioner Rashmi Shukla said: “Why didn’t Infosys depute a female security staff when they knew that a woman engineer was working alone on a weekend? Why was Rasila called for the evening shift when there was no one in her section?”
The tech giant didn’t offer any comments on the allegations, but tweeted its condolence.
“We are deeply saddened & shocked by the tragedy at Pune DC. Our hearts go out to our colleague’s family in this time of grief.”
Infosys officials told police Rasila had the day off, but came to work on a project and was in touch with colleagues at the company’s Bengaluru office.
But when her supervisor in Bengaluru could not get through to her over phone late on Sunday, someone in the Hinjewadi office was asked to check on her.
“When her colleagues came to her workstation, they found her lying on the floor with a computer wire around her neck,” assistant police commissioner Vaishali Jadhav said.
The autopsy was postponed as the family requested police to hold on until they reached the city.
The incident sent shockwaves since this is the second murder of a woman techie in two months in Pune, home to young technology professionals. Antara Das, a 23-year-old from Kolkata working with Capgemini, was stabbed to death when she was returning from work late in the evening last December.
(With PTI inputs)