The Pune police have formed three teams to nab the killer of a software engineer who was stabbed to death Friday night and turned their focus on a friend of the victim after her parents expressed suspicion about him.
Police suspect the man could be a spurned lover.
Pune Superintendent of Police Jay Jadhav said, “The murder appears to be a fallout of a one-sided love affair.”
Antara Das, 23-year-old techie from Kolkata working with Capgemini in Talawade near Pune was stabbed to death at KNB square at Talawade when she was returning from the office on Friday evening.
A motorcyclist Satyendra Sinha and another motorist took her to nearby hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.
Sinha told the police that he could see the attacker fleeing the spot. In his complaint to the police, he said the attacker was wearing a T-shirt with black and blue stripes.
“I saw the attacker running in the other direction after Antara shouted for help. I could not see his face since the street lights were off but could see his attire,” Sinha told Hindustan Times.
An investigating officer said Antara’s family has expressed suspicion about the possible role of a friend of hers in the murder.
Antara’s father Debananda Das said, “This is shock as to me as a father. When I inquired with my younger daughter about Antara, I she told me that she was harassed by a boy and I suspect his involvement in this case.”
She had met the suspect during her training in Bangalore. The suspect had even come to Pune when she was scheduled to appear for an interview for Capgemini and allegedly threatened to kill her.
“As far as we know, the man had proposed to Antara in Bangalore which she turned down. He then came down to Pune with the same request. Although she had informed us about the man, we did not lodge a complaint because we did not think he can go to the extent of murder,” said Panchanan Das, the victim’s uncle in Kolkata.
Based on the family’s complaint, the police are now trying to catch the suspect.
- November 3, 2007: Jyotikumari Choudhary (22), an employee of a Wipro call center based in Pune’s IT hub Hinjewadi, was raped and murdered by the firm’s cab driver and his friend. The driver Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Yashwant Kokade admitted that they raped her, smashed her head with stones and fled.
- August 7, 2008: A call center executive at IBM Daksh was gangraped. The police have not yet been able to conclude the case.
- October 20, 2008: A 22-year-old software developer Khushboo Mishra was brutally murdered by her boyfriend and co-worker Manu Mohinder Abrol (25) at her rented flat in Balewadi area.
- 2009: Another Pune-based software professional Nayana Pujari was raped and murdered by her cab driver and his friend while she was returning home.
“Our team will soon interrogate Antara’s friend, against whom her parents have raised suspicion for his possible involvement in the murder,” police inspector Arun More told Hindustan Times. Antara’s father came to Pune late on Saturday after being informed by police about his daughter’s murder.
“Prima facie, it seems that the killer was known to her. Antara got involved in a heated exchange with the killer that lasted for around 15 minutes before she was killed. We have received this information from an eyewitness,” added More.
The police suspect that the man may have left for Banglore. “We have formed three teams with one team already sent to Banglore,” said another police officer.
Police have ruled out money as motive for the murder.
“All the valuables including money in her purse, mobile phone and ornament Antara was carrying have been found as they were. Based on our preliminary investigation, we don’t think money was the motive behind the crime,” said More.
More said Antara’s last few phone called are being scrutinized by the police.
According to police officials, Antara had refused to avail the company’s bus service saying she would take an auto rickshaw to Nigadi where she stayed as paying guest. However, she did not take an auto rickshaw either and instead started walking to a friend’s place nearby when she was attacked.
The investigating officers further said that there are no CCTVs near the crime scene. They managed to get details of the car in which the miscreant came but eyewitnesses did not recall the registration number of the vehicle.
“We have asked CCTV footage from neighbouring police stations. We want to check whether the footage during the same time contain any car that matches with eyewitness’ statements. If we are successful we will get the registration number of the vehicle the accused was using,” More said.