Bengaluru, Aug 24: The police have cracked the murder of a model-cum-event manager who was killed near Kempegowda International Airport on July 31, and arrested a taxi driver for the crime.
The accused, H.M. Nagesh, is associated with popular taxi aggregator Ola. He was taking 32-year-old Pooja Singh De, who hails from Kolkata, to KIA that morning, but had not logged on to the mobile app and was working in a private capacity.
Pooja had come to the city on July 30 for an event and was returning to Kolkata when the gruesome incident happened.
The murder came to light when local villagers, who had gone out for a walk in the morning, informed police about the body of a woman lying close to the compound of the KIA.
She was found wearing a Titan watch, ‘Jealous 21’ jeans and a pair of branded sandals, which were the only clues available for police to solve the case. The victim had sustained injuries to her head and had been stabbed multiple times.
As police were unable to find any handbag, which would have contained proof of identification, they went with what they had: the watch and other branded items. But good detective work eventually helped them establish the identity of the victim and later led them to her killer.
Police learnt that Pooja had booked an Ola cab online to reach the KIA on July 31 after her assignment. She boarded the cab from Hosur Road at 4.15 am on July 31. The cabbie who drove her that day was H M Nagesh (22), a resident of Hegganahalli Cross in the city.
According to police, Nagesh deviated from the road near Chikkajala on the Hebbal highway and halted at an isolated spot and demanded money. When Pooja refused, he attacked her with a jack rod following which she lost consciousness. Nagesh rummaged through her baggage but was only able to find Rs 500 from her pocket and two mobile phones.
Deciding to get rid of her, Nagesh drove to a place behind the KIA near Kaada Yarappanahalli village, Jala Hobli, 100 metres away from a road where passing vehicles wouldn’t have easy visibility.
On reaching the spot, Pooja regained consciousness and a struggle began between the two. Nagesh again attacked her but a wounded Pooja opened the door to flee. She had taken a few steps in the darkness when Nagesh stabbed her multiple times using a knife and bludgeoned her with a stone.
A passerby 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 palm and hands along with blunt injuries to her head.
Following the incident, Bagalur police formed special teams to probe the incident using the clues that were available to them.
First, they zeroed in on the unique identity number of the Titan wristwatch to identify her. Next, observing her facial features, police felt that she could either be from West Bengal or North India.
Special teams were sent to Delhi and Kolkata, where police, on inquiring about missing cases, stumbled on a similar match at New Town Police Station. It was then that police learnt that she was married.
Further investigation revealed that Pooja had come to the city for event management related work. As she had booked an Ola cab through her e-mail ID and mobile phone, police suspected the role of the cab driver in her murder.
Nagesh was picked up and upon intense grilling confessed to the crime. Nagesh said that he killed her for money. Police recovered victim’s belongings, including an iPhone, from him. He was produced before a magistrate and remanded in judicial custody.
Cab driver held for murder of model-cum-event manager on the way to Airport