Life imprisonment till death for driver in Pratibha case

Life imprisonment till death for driver in Pratibha case

Life imprisonment till death for driver in Pratibha case

Shivkumar comes out of the court after the judgment in Bangalore on Friday. DH Photo/ S K Dinesh

As the 11th Fast Track Court Judge B V Gudali read out the punishment, Shivkumar broke down in the jampacked court room pleading innocence. To Pratibha’s mother Gowramma, the sentence was a relief and avenged the death of her daughter, an HP staffer, who was raped and killed while being taken to work.

Apart from the life term for the murder, Shivkumar was given 10 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 for kidnapping the woman.

In case he fails to pay the fine, he will have to go through an additional year of rigorous imprisonment. The judge also awarded him a jail term of another 10 years along with a fine of Rs 20,000 for the charge of rape, and if he fails to pay the fine, two more years will be added to his jail term.

The court hall was packed  with lawyers, police and public eager to hear the fate of the man whose crime had shocked the IT community at least in Bangalore, if not the entire country. Barring the judge’s chair and the witness box, there was not an inch of space vacant in the hall. People, in anticipation, had begun moving around the court as early as 10:30 am.

Judge B V Gudali’s verdict could be a beginning of a fresh approach to cases of this magnitude. Sharp at 11:30 am, the judge came in and pronounced the quantum of judgment, shocking Shivkumar who began screaming.

“I have been framed into this, I am innocent, please consider my plea,” he cried. Policemen then forcibly took him out of the room.

The drama, however, continued even after the pronouncement of the sentence. For the next two hours, hundreds of people including the media craned their necks to catch a glimpse of Shivkumar.

Pratibha’s mother Gowramma, who was also present in the court, wasn’t bothered about the sensation or the social fallout of the crime or the judgement.

To her, all that mattered was her fight against all odds for Pratibha had come to a just finish.