In an act that sent shock waves across the legal fraternity, a 25-year-old woman advocate from Kolar district was murdered, allegedly by her colleague, in front of Court Hall No. 4 on the premises of the Karnataka High Court around 1.40 p.m. on Thursday.
Her alleged assailant, Rajappa (29), fled to a toilet after the attack, consumed poison, and stabbed himself. He remains in a critical condition in hospital.
This is the first such incident reported on the premises of the State's legal hub.
The victim, Naveena, a junior in the office of Prakash Shetty where she joined three months ago, had come to the High Court in the morning.
Though there is speculation that Rajappa was besotted with Naveena, her father, Sreenivasa Reddy, ruled out any love angle to the murder. “She was neither in love with anybody nor was she engaged,” he told reporters at Bowring Hospital, where the body was taken for autopsy.
Eyewitness reported seeing the couple arguing in the morning near Court Hall No. 3 (which faces Cubbon Park).
When the High Court adjourned for lunch at 1.30 p.m., Rajappa was seen by senior advocate Subramanya Jois in a heated argument with Naveena, during which he kicked her. Even as Mr. Jois went towards Naveena to help her, Rajappa whipped out a knife and stabbed her on the chest.
As Naveena collapsed in the corridor, Rajappa ran towards the toilet and locked himself in. Mr. Jois called for help and summoned the police. He then locked the toilet door from the outside to prevent Rajappa's escape.
Naveena, who lay in a pool of blood, breathed her last. Meanwhile, Rajappa, who had consumed poison, stabbed himself with the same knife. He was rushed to Mallya Hospital, where he is on the ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit. “His condition is stable, but he will remain critical for the next 48 hours as he has lost a lot of blood because of the cut on his neck and stab wounds on his chest and abdomen,” said Commodore Indru Wadhwani, the hospital's Managing Director.