A local court on Friday sentenced cab driver Shiva Kumar to ‘life imprisonment till death’ for raping and killing BPO employee Pratibha Murthy five years ago.
Fast track court Judge B.V. Guddali pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom. Shiva Kumar was also held guilty of rape and abduction, for which he was given separate jail terms.
In the wee hours of December 13, 2005, Kumar called Murthy (28) on the mobile and misled her into believing that the regular driver, Jagdish, was on leave and he had been given the task of dropping her at the office.
Murthy’s murder had shocked IT and IT-enabled services firms across the country, and companies began to adopt stringent security measures for the protection of women employees.
Bangalore police laid down norms for taxicab operators. The norms include checking the antecedents of the drivers.
Kumar was arrested on the basis of Jagdish's statements.
Kumar had supposedly told the police he did so since he was starved of sex ever since his wife became pregnant. However, he denied this in court.
After the sentence was pronounced, Murthy’s mother, Gowramma, told reporters, “The happiness is gone with my daughter but I am relieved today. This sentence should be a deterrent to future convicts. At last, I have got justice.”
As Shiva Kumar was being escorted away, his wife, Suma, created a ruckus claiming that he was wrongfully convicted. She claimed that the real culprit was one ‘Girish Babu’.
“If the court does not get my husband justice, I will commit suicide with my child in front of the same court,” she said.