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Pratibha case: Accused cab driver sentenced to imprisonment till death

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”.

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