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Verdict expected today in Pratibha murder case

A Bangalore court is likely to pronounce verdict today in the murder case of BPO employee Pratibha Srikanthamurthy, allegedly by cab driver Shiva Kumar in December 2005.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2010 14:18 IST

A Bangalore court is likely to pronounce verdict on Wednesday in the murder case of BPO employee Pratibha Srikanthamurthy, deciding whether cab driver Shiva Kumar is guilty.

Shiva Kumar is accused of raping and murdering 28-year-old BPO employee in December 2005. Shiva Kumar was arrested, as he was the last person to be seen with Prathibha before she went missing. The accused however claims he is being framed.

According to the prosecution, Kumar conned BPO employee Pratibha into travelling in his cab around 1.50 am on December 3, 2005, and took her to a deserted place in Anjanapura, where he raped and murdered the woman. Her body was found three days later.

Police arrested Kumar based on the statement provided by Jagdish, the driver who was to pick Pratibha from her residence in Kumaraswamy Layout, as well as cell phone call records. The accused had made his victim believe that he was assigned to ferry her to work at HP GlobalSoft, since the regular driver was on leave.

After the arrest, Kumar reportedly told the police that he committed the crime since he had been sexually frustrated ever since his wife’s pregnancy. He later retracted the statement in the court.

The murder of Pratibha shocked IT and ITeS firms across the country, forcing companies to adopt stringent security measures for their women employees and Wednesday will be the judgment day.

Ever since the shocking incident, security guards have been assigned to vehicles ferrying staffers working night shifts.

“The system underwent a change after that incident. Drivers are now appointed only after checking their antecedents. We have told firms to avoid vehicles with tinted windows,” deputy commissioner of police (south-east) BNS Reddy said.

Ever since her daughter's murder in December 2005, Prathibha's mother, Gowramma has been fighting a lone battle. She's attended every court hearing, sat through lawyers' arguments and police questioning, and waited with hope for just one thing – a death penalty for this man – Shiva Kumar, the cab driver who's accused of killing Prathibha Srikanthmurthy.

For Gowramma though, little will change. She lost her husband 15 days after Prathibha was born and struggled as a single mother to bring up her only child. Her home is filled with memories and a void.

She says, “I have everything, but I have nothing… I'm staying alone here… it's very difficult to live without my daughter. I loved her so much… everyday, every night I'm crying… I don't sleep at all."

First Published: Oct 06, 2010 10:11 IST