A driver and his accomplice have been sentenced to death for raping and
murdering a call centre employee on her way to the night shift, the country's
1st such ruling for a crime that exposed the risks the young face while heading
to offices aligned to transcontinental time zones.
Jyotikumari Chaudhury, a 22-year-old employee of Wipro BPO Spectramind in Pune,
was brutalised and killed on November 1, 2007, while she was being driven at
10.30pm to what would have been her last day at office.
The girl from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, who had resigned and was planning to
take a break, was speaking to a friend on the phone when the line was cut off.
Her brutalised body was found two days later in a paddy field.
The case has been termed "rarest of rare" ' a classification required for the
death sentence ' by the Pune court which held the cab driver, Purshottam
Borate, 28, and Pradeep Kokate, 23, guilty of rape, murder and conspiracy.
Principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar described the crime as "a
pre-conceived one committed to satisfy lust", concluding that the convicts
deserved the death penalty.
The 2 pleaded for clemency on the ground that they were the only breadwinners
of their families but the plea was rejected by the court, special public
prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
The judge said "the collective conscience of the community is so shocked by the
crime that imposing an alternative sentence, life imprisonment, on the accused
would not meet the ends of justice. Rather, it would tempt other potential
offenders to commit such crimes and get away with lesser punishment".
The judge added that it was because of this crime that security of women
working in BPOs came to the fore. He also referred to a survey that suggested
only 2 % of the employees received in-house training in self-defence and
The lawyer for the accused has said an appeal would be filed in the high court.
Nikam had sought the death sentence on 5 counts, stating that the 2 had
committed the crime on a defenceless person without any provocation and shown
depravity by the way the murder was committed.
The prosecution had no direct evidence such as eyewitnesses but relied heavily
on circumstantial evidence, witnesses who saw the girl being picked up and
heard her on the phone asking the driver why he had changed the route, and
"We are hoping that this will be a landmark judgment in such cases. The judge
has also said that such cases are on the rise and this should serve as a
deterrent," Jyoti's relative Shishir Pundalik told The Telegraph from Pune.
"We did wish that the 2 should be given nothing less than the death sentence.
There is no sense of euphoria or victory as the crime committed by them cannot
be reversed. But there is certainly a sense of closure after the verdict,"
Borate had picked up Jyoti from the house of her cousin where she was staying.
"It was her last day at work as she was going to quit the company. The accused
was fully aware of it and had premeditated the crime along with his friend,"
After picking her up, Borate told Jyoti that his friend would also be
travelling with them. While Jyoti was talking on the phone with her friend '
one of the 29 witnesses produced by the prosecution ' Borate drove the car to a
"They snatched the phone from her and raped her. They first slit the veins of
her right hand, smashed her face with a big stone that fractured her skull and
then strangled her. The murder was committed in the most gruesome manner,
falling in the rarest of rare category," Nikam said.
After the murder, Borate returned to the call centre to resume work and
informed his supervisor that Jyoti was unwell and had not reported to work.
"Borate also told his supervisor that he was late as his cab's tyre was
punctured," Nikam had said in court.
The judge referred to this. "The accused, without showing any remorse or
repentance for their actions, made up a false story. It is clear… they are
incapable of rehabilitation."
(source: Yahoo News)