The 11th Fast Track Sessions Court on Friday sentenced cab driver Shiva Kumar to rigorous imprisonment for life for kidnapping, raping and murdering BPO employee Pratibha Srikantamurthy in December 2005.
Judge B.V. Gudli said Shiva Kumar had to undergo rigorous imprisonment for the rest of his life on the specific charge of murder. “He shall not be released till the rest of his life,” the Judge stated.
“Shiva Kumar gets another 10-year rigorous imprisonment and has to pay a fine of Rs.10,000 for kidnap as well as a similar jail sentence and a fine of Rs.20,000 for rape. All three sentences will run concurrently,” the Judge stated.
Pratibha (27), a staffer at HP GlobalSoft BPO at Electronics City, was kidnapped, raped and murdered on December 13, 2005. Shiva Kumar, the driver of one of the cars assigned to transport staff, hoodwinked her into taking his car during her night shift, and drove her to an isolated spot in the Anajanapura Layout where he committed the crime.
Her body was found three days later.
Explaining why he did not give death, the Judge said the act had not been committed by a hired assassin, nor was it cold-blooded. “There was no dominating control over the deceased. She was not a helpless woman,” the Judge noted in his 113-page judgment, adding the crime was not enormous in nature and not in the “rarest of rare” bracket.
This was not a case of bride burning and not against a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste or minority religion.
The Judge said Shiva Kumar, who was 22 then, is now 27. He was not a habitual offender and the prosecution had not shown that he had been convicted for crime earlier.
The accused had his aged parents, wife and a young son.
Considering all these facts, the Judge said he should be given the opportunity to reform himself.
The pronouncement of the sentence lasted about 10 minutes in the presence of Shiva Kumar's elderly father Kantaraju, his mother Kenchamma, his wife Suma and his five-year-old son. This was the first time that Suma was appearing in court after having given her evidence in the case three years ago.
As the Judge pronounced the sentence, Shiva Kumar pleaded his innocence and said the police had framed him. The Judge said he could not listen to his pleading and the police drove him off to the Bangalore Central Prison.