Bangalore taxi driver Shiva Kumar was Friday sentenced to “life imprisonment till death” for the 2005 rape and murder of Hewlett Packard (HP) India employee Pratibha Murthy, prompting her mother to say tearfully that her daughter’s soul would now rest in peace.
Judge B.V Guddali of the 11th fast track court pronounced the judgment in a packed courtroom. The judge had Wednesday held Shiva Kumar guilty and convicted him on all the three charges of kidnapping, rape and murder of the 28-year-old.
The judge also sentenced the accused to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.20,000 for raping Pratibha. Shiva Kumar was also handed down a sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.10,000 for kidnapping her.
Pratibha’s mother Gowramma was in tears but said she had got justice.
“I got justice. May my daughter’s soul rest in peace now. Though my happiness has gone with Pratibha, she will be proud of the sentence,” a tearful Gowramma told reporters minutes after the judgment was pronounced.
But Pratibha’s uncle S. Srinivas said Shivakumar should have been given death penalty.
“The accused deserves capital sentence. He should not be in the world. Exemplary punishment should be given to him (Shiva Kumar) so it will be a deterrent to others in society,” Srinivas told reporters.
The accused picked up Pratibha from her house in south Bangalore in the wee hours of Dec 13, 2005 for graveyard shift (late night duty) at Hewlett Packard (HP) GlobalSoft Ltd and drove her to the outskirts of the city and then raped and murdered her in a gruesome manner.
Police found Pratibha’s body with her throat slit in a pit near Anjanapura layout the following day.
Though Shiva Kumar first confessed to the crime, he later backtracked and denied all the charges.
The trial has been going on in the courts for four-and-a-half years. It began in a sessions court in Bangalore in January 2007 and was shifted to a fast track court in December 2009.
A total of 71 witnesses had been examined in the case.
The rocked this tech hub and forced all IT firms to enhance security for the safety of their women employees.