Life imprisonment for Pratibha’s killer

A court sentenced life imprisonment till death to driver Shiva Kumar for the murder.

Bangalore: After a five-year-long trial, a
court Friday sentenced to life imprisonment till death driver
Shiva Kumar for the gruesome murder of Pratibha
Srikanthamurthy, an incident that led to revamping of security
of women staff in the IT sector across the country.

The 11th Fast Track Court (FTC) Judge B V Guddali
spared him the noose but sentenced him to imprisonment for
life till death for murder.

He also sentenced the accused to 10 years rigorous
imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine for the charge of kidnapping
under section 366 of the IPC and in case of failure to do so
one year additional RI.

The driver was given another 10 years rigorous
imprisonment for charge of rape under section 376 of the IPC
and a fine of Rs 20,000, in case of failure to do so, two
years additional RI.

Gowramma, the widowed mother of Pratibha, her only
child, who had been demanding death for the driver said, "I am
satisfied" with the judgement though she added her happiness
was gone with the murder of her daughter.

"I got relief and it should be a lesson to others who
do this type of crime. For five years, I suffered and I have
been wanting justice and at last, I got it," she said.

Pratibha`s husband Srinivas Shetty also expressed
similar sentiments, saying, "Everyday the convict should
remember the diabolic act he committed".

22-year-old 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 with her throat
slit was found on the outskirts of the city a day later.

Eighty witnesses have been examined in the case in the
last five years.

High drama was witnessed outside the court with the convict`s wife screaming that her husband is innocent.

"Everybody is here for publicity. My husband is innocent," she said.

As he was being taken into a waiting police van, Shiva Kumar claimed he was innocent.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Pratibha`s uncle Srinivasan said he was not satisfied with the verdict.

"It should have been a death sentence," he said.

Chaman Lal Mattoo, whose daughter Priyadarshini was raped and murdered, said nothing less than a death penalty should have been imposed on the convict.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday commuted the death sentence of Santosh Kumar Singh, son of a former IPS officer, in the Priyadarshini rape and murder case taking into account some "mitigating factors".