A businessman who shot dead a 34-year-old advocate in a sensational case in Bengaluru in 2017 after suspecting he was involved in a relationship with his wife was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday.
The incident occurred on January 13, 2017, in the Soladevanahalli area of north Bengaluru. Businessman Rajesh Gowda allegedly shot Amith Keshavamurthy, the son of well-known advocate K Keshavamurthy, suspecting that his wife Shruthi was in a relationship with Amith, despite her denial. Shruthi died by suicide soon after.
On Wednesday, the court of the first additional district and sessions judge in the Bengaluru rural district convicted Rajesh, 40, of murder and for use of a firearm. The court sentenced him to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh a day later.
Rajesh and Shruthi were married for 13 years and had two children when the crime occurred. After her marriage, Shruthi was employed as a panchayath development officer with the Karnataka government.
Amith had helped her get a transfer posting from the T. Begur Gram Panchayat to the Gollahalli Gram Panchayat and the two became friends. They were in touch regularly on social media and this raised the suspicion of Amith’s wife, who allegedly complained to Rajesh about Shruthi’s close association with her husband.
After hearing the allegations, Rajesh allegedly locked up his wife, and family members had to intervene so she could return to work. Three days before the murder-suicide, Rajesh reportedly installed a GPS tracker on his wife’s Maruti Swift car to keep track of her movements.
On January 13, 2017, when Rajesh reportedly called his wife, she said she was in an official meeting. But when he checked the GPS, he learnt that she was not at her workplace and traced the car’s location to a road near Acharya College in Soladevanahalli.
Rajesh allegedly told his 78-year-old father Gopalakrishna Gowda about the situation, picked up his licenced pistol and left the house in his Toyota Innova along with his father and a driver to track down his wife.
When he spotted Shruti’s car parked near Acharya College and saw Amith in the passenger seat, he allegedly approached the car and opened fire at Amith. Shruthi took the injured Amith in her car to the nearby Sapthagiri Hospital but the advocate, who had been shot in his chest, was declared dead. Rajesh and his father followed Shruthi to the hospital.
After learning of Amith’s death, Shruthi left the hospital and went to the nearby Raj Vista Hotel and rented a room. She spoke to a relative and informed her that Rajesh had killed an innocent man. She was later found dead in the room on the same day.
Rajesh and his father confessed to the murder but Gopalakrishna claimed he had fired the gun. Investigations, however, revealed that the firearm was used by Rajesh.
Gopalakrishna was a co-accused in the case until his death in 2020 at the age of 80 during the Covid crisis.
The driver was a witness to the crime but later told the court that he had not seen the shooting itself.
“The gun was not in the possession of the first accused when it was seized. It was seized the next morning from the Innova car after the arrests. The car was not in his possession at the time of the seizure. There were no eyewitnesses. This is a case that will be appealed,” defence advocate S Shankarappa said following the verdict on Thursday.