Police suspect foul play in the murder of a woman call centre employee whose body was found with multiple stab wounds on the Bangalore-Mangalore national highway 200 km from Wednesday.
Tanya Banerjee (25) of Howrah in West Bengal, was last seen late Tuesday near her house in the posh Frazer Town after she returned from her office - Aviva 24/7 Customer Operations Services Ltd - which is located in Whitefield, about 20 km from here.
"We are waiting for the post-mortem report and it is too early to say who could be behind the murder. Preliminary findings indicate the victim could have been molested and stabbed to death within the city limits and the body driven out in a vehicle to be dumped far away," Police Commissioner N Achut Rao said.
"We learnt from the company that Tanya did not take the office vehicle meant for the drop after she completed her second shift around 9.30 pm. She left for home with some colleagues, including her boyfriend (Gururaj Kishore) who also works in the same office," Rao said.
After a daylong hunt, the police picked up Kishore for interrogation and took him to the spot where Tanya's body was found near Maranhanhalli village, about 80 km from Hassan.
"Only after the post-mortem report, will we be able to find out what transpired during the intervening period till her body was found on the highway earlier in the day by some villagers. We are questioning Kishore," Rao said.
The city police are waiting for the arrival of Tanya's father from Kolkata. Police informed him after finding his phone number in a pouch near Tanya's body along with some other papers.
Tanya's body, which bore at least 20 stab wounds, is likely to be brought to the city Thursday after completing the autopsy at Hassan.
Earlier, Hassan police chief Panduranga H Rane said on phone that Tanya's body was identified from her office ID card, which was found hanging around her neck. She was found wearing a red T-shirt and black trousers.
He said Tanya could have been murdered at some other place, as there was no telltale signs like blood marks or any weapon near her body.
"Since it has been raining heavily in the area where the body was found, we could not find any other evidence to ascertain where the crime would have taken place and which way the vehicle had left," Rane pointed out.
Tanya's gruesome murder has sent shock waves in India's silicon hub, which is home to the largest number of IT firms in the country, including about 200 call centres and business processing outsourcing (BPO) firms.
Tanya's murder has brought back the memories of Pratibaha Kumar, a call centre girl with HP BPO unit, who was found murdered after being raped last December by the company's cab driver.
Meanwhile, in a statement to the media, the company said Tanya's murder came as a shock to its officials as well as hundreds of its employees, especially women.
"This is a very shocking incident. We empathise with Tanya's family and will do everything to support it in this hour of grief. As an employee-friendly organisation, we are committed to ensure complete safety and security of all our employees.
"Though we employ several measures to ensure safety and security of all our employees, especially women, it is unfortunate the employee (Tanya) did not opt for the company's transport outside working hours choosing instead to use her own means of commuting," the company said.