Cabbie demanded Rs 5L from murdered woman's husband

Cab driver H M Nagesh

The cab driver, who allegedly murdered a Kolkata woman on July 31, later texted her husband to demand Rs 5 lakh. 

Weeks after a 32 two-year-old woman from Kolkata was allegedly murdered by a cab driver in Bengaluru, new details of the horrific crime have been revealed by the victim’s husband. 

Pooja Singh De, a model-cum-event manager, was found bludgeoned to death near the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) compound on the morning of July 31. 

Soudeep De narrated to DH his wife’s final moments and how the suspect tried to hoodwink him after the murder. 

Pooja had arrived in Bengaluru on July 30 and went around the city by an Ola cab. She was to fly back the next morning. She called up the driver, H M Nagesh, 22, and asked if he could drop her off at the airport. This booking was not made through Ola. 

Pooja fell asleep soon after getting into the cab. The driver took advantage of this and took a detour at Chikkajala, driving through the desolate toll-free road to the airport. 

He then demanded money from Pooja. She started shouting for help. 

“The driver hit her on the head with a jack lever, stunning her. He then drove further into the desolate stretch. When Pooja regained consciousness later and tried to come out of the car, he repeatedly stabbed her. But she was still alive. The driver then took a hollow block and hit her on the chest, killing her,” De said. 

But the cab driver was not content with Rs 500 in cash and two mobile phones — an iPhone and Vivo handset — that he found in her bag. He took the Vivo phone to a store and somehow got its IMEI number changed. When he switched on the phone two days later, he found numerous messages from her husband. 

Nagesh texted him, impersonating his wife. “I am in Hyderabad. Some emergency. Need cash.”  

It was Nagesh’s broken English that made De suspicious. He realised the texter was not his wife as she well versed in English. 

“When we went to Bengaluru, they (police) told me this guy sold the iPhone and got the IMEI number of the Vivo phone changed. He reinserted the sim card and texted me, demanding Rs 5 lakh. I replied that I will not send any money. ‘You call me and tell me what is the problem. If required, I will go there and help you.’ There was no reply,” De said. 

He continued: “I know my wife was very good at English. So, when I saw the text, I was very much sure that she had not written it because the language was poor. I told my family she did not send this text.” 

De went to the New Town police station in Kolkata to report the matter but officers there did not take him
seriously and did not register an FIR. 

On August 16, De’s brother-in-law received a phone call from the Bengaluru police who asked him to come over and identify a body. 

“He went to Bengaluru without informing me. But after identifying the body, he called me that it was her. I took an early morning flight on August 17 and identified my wife’s body,” De said. 

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