The South Division police have arrested a 24-year-old cab driver on the charge of murdering an IT employee and attempting to kill her five-year-old daughter with a view to robbing their house at Venkatadri Layout of J.P. Nagar on August 1.

The accused, Arun Kumar, a habitual offender who was heavily indebted, decided to kill and rob Jyotilakshmi (35), who lived with her five-year-old daughter, Jagruthi, the police said.

According to the police, Kumar monitored Jyotilakshmi’s movements for a few days and collected information about her work and valuables. He found out that Jyotilakshmi had purchased a flat and was to move into her new apartment soon. He approached her on August 1 at around 7. 30 p.m. on the pretext of checking the house for taking it on rent.

Jyotilakshmi allowed him inside. Once in, Arun Kumar stabbed her. She cried in pain. An alarmed Arun Kumar then slit her throat. Jagruthi who was watching TV in the drawing room rushed to her mother’s help. Arun Kumar attacked her with the knife. Luckily Jagruthi escaped with only a slash on her neck, but fell unconscious.

Hearing the commotion, neighbours rushed to her help. Kumar switched off the lights and hid under the staircase of the house. While the neighbours tried to force open the door that was locked from inside, Arun Kumar escaped in a hurry without taking anything of value except her mobile phone.

Arun Kumar left the mobile at a bakery in Bilekahalli the next day. A person from Tamil Nadu who had come to the city found the abandoned mobile and carried it with him to his native place. The police, who were tracking the mobile phone, later picked up the man suspecting him to be the assailant.

After questioning, the police found him innocent and let him off. But the police, who were on the lookout for habitual offenders in the area, nabbed Arun Kumar on September 9. On rigorous questioning, he confessed to the murder.

A special team formed to investigate the murder questioned the family members, colleagues and Jyotilakshmi’s ex-husband. “We questioned around 150 persons including family members, relatives and friends of Jyotilakshmi in this case thinking that the murder could be for personal reasons and not for monetary gain. After ruling out murder for personal reasons, we trained our sights on habitual offenders and managed to nab the suspect,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) H.S. Revanna said.

Jagruthi is recuperating and staying with her grandparents.

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