Ola driver held for murder of Kolkata model near KIA

Ola driver held for murder of Kolkata model near KIA

Pooja Singh (Instagram)

A 32-year-old woman from Kolkata was murdered by an Ola cab driver in an attempt to rob her while she was on her way to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on July 31.

The suspect was traced by Bengaluru police through a meticulous investigation and the driver was apprehended on Aug. 21.

Bagalur police identified the victim as Pooja Singh De, a resident of Kolkata. The crime happened when Pooja, a model-cum-event manager who had come to the city on July 30 for an event was returning to Kolkata.

The murder came to light when local villagers informed police after they spotted the body of a woman near the KIA compound. She was found wearing a Titan watch, ‘Jealous 21’ jeans and branded sandals, which were the clues that police used to investigate the case. The victim had injuries to her head and multiple stab wounds.

Police did not locate a handbag with identification near the body, so they used the watch and branded items to trace the victim's identity. The investigation also led police to the person responsible for her murder.

The July 31 murder

Police learnt that Pooja had booked an Ola cab online on July 30 to reach her hotel. After reaching the hotel she called up the same driver and asked him to pick her up early next morning to reach the airport as there would be less cab availability during the wee hours. She then boarded the cab from Hosur Road at 4.15 am on July 31. The cabbie who drove her that day was HM Nagesh (22), a resident of Hegganahalli Cross in Bengaluru.

According to police, Nagesh deviated from the main road near Chikkajala on the Hebbal highway. He stopped at an isolated spot and demanded money from the victim. When Pooja refused, Nagesh attacked her with a jack rod and she lost consciousness. He rummaged through her baggage but was only able to find Rs 500 in her pocket and two mobile phones. 

Ola driver HM Nagesh, who is accused of murder.

Deciding to get rid of her, Nagesh drove to a place behind KIA near Kaada Yarappanahalli village, Jala Hobli. The spot was 100 metres away from a road and would not be visible to passing vehicles.

On reaching the spot, Pooja regained consciousness and there was a struggle. Nagesh again attacked her and a wounded Pooja opened the door to flee. She took a few steps in the darkness when Nagesh stabbed her multiple times with a knife and bludgeoned her with a stone. 

A passer-by stumbled on her body around 6.30 am and informed police, who found her lying in a pool of blood with multiple stab injuries to her chest, abdomen, throat and cuts on the hands along with blunt injuries to her head.

The police investigation

Following the incident, Bagalur police formed special teams to probe the incident using the clues that they had found.

First, they zeroed in on the unique identity number of the Titan wristwatch to identify her. Next, police made an observation of her facial features and determined that she may either be from West Bengal or North India.

Special teams were then sent to New Delhi and Kolkata, where police, on inquiring about missing cases, stumbled on a match at New Town Police Station. It was then that the police learnt that she was married.

Further investigation revealed that Pooja had come to the city for an event related to her event management work. As she had booked an Ola cab, which was linked to her email ID and mobile phone, police suspected that her cab driver might be involved in her murder.

Cab driver Nagesh was then picked up. After an intense interrogation, Nagesh confessed to the crime and said that he had killed her for her money. Police were able to recover the victim’s belongings, including an iPhone, from him.

Nagesh was produced before a magistrate and remanded in judicial custody.