Sacked driver arrested for murdering home-alone geologist in Bengaluru

The accused, Kiran, requested Prathima to reinstate him in his job with the Mines and Geology Department, but she refused.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Nov 06, 2023 | 6:30 PM Updated Nov 07, 2023 | 12:54 AM

Former driver & Accused Kiran (Left) & Mudered victim Prathima KS the senior geologist (Right)

The murder of a senior geologist with the Karnataka Mines and Geology Department at Doddakallasandra in Bengaluru was an act of revenge, it was revealed after the arrest of a former contract driver on Monday, 6 November.

Identifying the accused as Kiran, 32, of Jumbo Savari Dinne in Konankunte, the police said he murdered KS Prathima in a fit of rage on Saturday, 4 November, night, since she refused to accept his apology and pleas to reinstate him. He was terminated for unruly behaviour a couple of months ago.

Kiran, who had been on contract with the department for eight years, believed that his service would be regularised. He even lied to his friends and family that he had been regularised and was on government rolls.

After his contract was terminated, he met Prathima a few times, requesting her to reinstate him. However, she had by then found a replacement for Kiran.

The accused, who knew that the geologist would return home around 8 pm on working days, visited her on Saturday night. However, Prathima refused to accept his apology and pleas to take him back. Enraged, he barged into the house and strangled the woman with her dupatta. When she fell unconscious, he picked up a knife from the kitchen and slit her throat, the police said.

The incident came to light when Prathima’s brother Pratheesh went to the house near Gokulam Apartments on Sunday after repeated calls went unanswered. He found the front door open, and on stepping in, saw his sister lying motionless in a pool of blood. He reported the matter to the Subramanyapura police around 8.30 am on Sunday morning.

Related: Senior geologist found murdered at home in Bengaluru

An apology and a murder

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Subramanyapura sub-division Pavan N and inspectors from Thalaghattapura and Kumaraswamy Layout police stations rushed to the scene and conducted preliminary inquiries with her neighbours and colleagues. It was her colleagues who informed the police of Kiran.

The police formed two teams to probe the case. Investigators found that Kiran’s phone switched off, and his family members were unaware of his whereabouts. This made the investigators suspicious and Kiran became a person of interest. CCTV camera visuals collected from near Prathima’s house confirmed Kiran’s presence in the area on Saturday.

Soon, the police traced the former driver at Male Mahadeshwara (MM) Hills in Chamarajanagar. He was detained and brought to Bengaluru on Sunday. On interrogation, he reportedly confessed to the crime.

The police said Prathima had several times warned Kiran to mellow down. Even for minor accidents, he used to fly off the handle and go on an abusing spree. Fed up with his behaviour, she decided to terminate his contract. It was also suspected that he alerted quarrying units of impending inspections. Incidentally, Kiran’s father, too, was a contract employee of the same department.

During the probe, investigators also looked at the possible involvement of the so-called mining mafia. Prathima had recently submitted a report to the government saying illegal quarrying in about four acres at Hunusamarenahalli near Yelahanka had caused a loss of ₹25.35 lakh to the state exchequer. Soon after her murder, the report went viral on social media.

Arun reportedly told the interrogators that he had gone to Prathima’s house on Saturday to apologise and request her to take him back. When she did not heed to his pleas, he committed the crime.

After confirming her death, he waited in the house until the road in front of it was clear. Once the road was clear, he escaped to Chamarajanagar.

“We will produce the accused before a magistrate soon and seek his custody for 10 days so that we can gather all information from him,” Investigation Officer Pavan told South First.