Assistant Commissioner of Police, (Internal Security) Devaiah, who was part of the investigation team said the case posed a real challenge. “We were under immense pressure to gather clues to file charge sheet. The vital clues collected from the crime scene and foolproof evidences made the job easier. We had filed a total of four charge sheets,” he said. Devaiah attributed the successful completion of the task to support from colleagues.
Recalling the investigation, Devaiah said the semen and other biological evidences from the victim and the accused were compared at the Forensic Science Laboratory. The ATM card, credit cards and the blanket of Pratibha were collected from the spot where she was buried by Shivkumar. The knife used for the murder was found at the crime spot nearly after five days.
“We could not get any finger print of Shivkumar on the knife. But we could establish his involvement in the crime on the basis of blood stains on the knife and his dress,” he said.
Devaiah said Shivkumar started preparation for the crime on August 9. He had two more women on his list - Archana and Latha - both colleagues of Pratibha. He had collected cellphone numbers of all the three and called each of them from a pay phone booth in Konanakunte Cross on Aug 12. He unsuccessfully tried to convince Archana and Latha that he would pick them up for work as the regular cab was under repair. Ultimately, Pratibha fell into the trap. The police obtained records of all the three calls and Archana and Latha were examined as witnesses.
It was also established that the accused had purchased the murder weapon from a shop opposite Madivala police station. The owner of the shop deposed before the court.
Cop of conviction
Shivkumar’s conviction is the 21st murder case investigated by Devaiah. His investigations have resulted in the conviction of suspects in 157 cases during his 30 years of service.
A tragedy that could have been avoided
The death of Pratibha could have been averted on that fateful night, if only the police officer in the Hoysala vehicle had bothered to enquire after noticing the vehicle in which Pratibha was taken to Anjanapura BDA layout.
The crime scene was just 50 feet away from where the patrolling vehicle was parked. One of the Hoysala vehicles on night patrol stopped near the BPO cab.
But, the officer on patrol did not bother to enquire why the vehicle was parked at such an isolated place late in the night. During the course of the investigation, Shivkumar admitted to have noticed the Hoysala and threatening Pratibha not to rise voice, at knife-point. He executed his his devious intention after the patrolling jeep left the place.