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Court convicts accused in Pratibha murder case

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 20:34

Bangalore: A fast track court on Wednesday convicted a cab driver of rape and brutal murder of a young BPO employee Pratibha Srikanthamurthy, nearly five years after the crime that sent shock waves across the IT industry.

Pronouncing the much-awaited verdict in the sensational case, fast track court judge B V Guddali deferred the pronouncement of the quantum of sentence to October 8. The offences by the 27-year-old cab driver Shiva Kumar carry a maximum sentence of death penalty.

The court held Kumar guilty of criminal charges of kidnap, rape and murder of the 28-year-old employee of Hewlett-Packard call centre under IPC Sections 366, 376 and 302.

In her response to the conviction, Pratibha`s mother Gowramma, who has been waging a lone battle for justice for the murder of her only daughter, broke down and demanded "death sentence" for Kumar.

"He should be hanged, should be given death sentence. It (judgement) should act as a deterrent and be a lesson for others not to commit such a cold-blooded crime. If such criminals go scot free, crimes will only increase," Gowramma, in her 60s, said weeping inconsolably.

"The accused is pleading for consideration as he has a wife and aged parents. What about me, I am all alone, my only daughter is also gone. Let us wait till October 8 and then I will talk," she said.

To a query on her future course of action, she said, "In case justice is not done, I will not keep quiet. I will fight the case in the high court."

Pratibha, who joined HP Globalsoft in 2005 after her marriage, went missing on December 13, 2005 after leaving home for her night shift. Her body was found on the outskirts of the city a day later.

Investigations revealed that Kumar, who was engaged by the BPO, had called Pratibha on her mobile phone on the night she went missing.

The case sent shock waves throughout the entire BPO industry, forcing them to have a relook at their human resource management rules including safety of women employees.

The incident saw a number of firms bringing in new safety measures for their women employees working in night shifts, including deploying security guards and GPS systems in the cabs taking them to their place of work.

Ironically, it has taken five years for the case to reach its conclusion despite being handled by 11 fast track courts.

In all, 80 witnesses, including Pratibha`s colleagues, were examined in the case.


First Published: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 20:34

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