BANGALORE: A 33-year-old HR manger of a software firm was murdered by an unidentified assailant in front of her five-year-old daughter in JP Nagar on Thursday night.
The girl was found unconscious, but with her eyes open near Jyothi Lakshmi’s body in the bedroom of their second-floor house. It is suspected the traumatized child was next to the body for 12 hours.
The girl was shifted to a private hospital where she is recovering. A scratch on the child’s face raised suspicion she had been attacked.
Police said the assailant had stabbed the mother in the neck and the abdomen with an intention to kill, probably because of personal vendetta. He is appeared to have spared the girl.
Jyothi had married Hemachandra six years ago. They split two years ago and were in the midst of divorce proceedings.
There were no signs of any forced entry into the JP Nagar residence of Jyothi Lakshmi. The house was not ransacked either.
HS Revanna, deputy commissioner of police (south), said, “The fact that there was no forced entry and belongings were found intact shows that someone known to her had come there last night.”
An investigating officer explained the scene of crime. “On a sofa in the main hall, there was a bowl with scrambled egg in it, and some currency notes of Rs 10 and 20 denomination. The TV was on and some cartoon channel was playing. What you deduce from the scene of crime is that whoever came to the house that night was known to her and it wasn’t a murder for gain,” the office added.
Police have recovered a dagger from a storm water drain close to the house. A police officer claimed they have a vital clue in the case. Late in the night, sources said they had picked up someone known to Jyothi in connection with the murder.
The incident came to the light on Friday morning when Jyothi’s father couldn’t get in touch with her. Narsaiah, a former Kirloskar employee and Rajajinagar resident, said he tried calling his daughter over 10 times on Thursday night, but there was no response.
Narsaiah presumed his daughter was caught up with something urgent and didn’t bother.
However, when he called her up again on Friday morning, the phone was switched off. This time he was worried and he made a call to Nagaraj, a neighbour of Jyothi. Many years ago, Narasaiah was a tenant of Nagaraj and they knew each other much before Jyothi moved to the house next door. Nagaraj, who was at work, called up his wife, Susheela, and asked her to check on Jyothi.
“I walked into the house, I could see her leg and she lay on the floor. I didn’t know what to do, so I ran down. I asked tenants downstairs to see what had happened and help her if she was still alive,” said Susheela.
After the tenants backed out, she ran to a construction site nearby and got some workers from there for help. Meanwhile, a call was made to Ramesh Babu, owner of the building, and police were summoned.
The mother-daughter duo stayed on 2nd Main, 2nd Cross in Venkatadri Layout, JP Nagar, as it was close to her workplace. According to neighbours, Hemachandra used to visit his daughter once in a while. Following the murder, Hemachandra and his lawyer went to the police station and gave a statement, police sources said.
Neighbours do not seem to have heard anything during the previous night
When neighbours found the body of 33-year-old Jyothi Lakshmi lying n the floor of the bedroom with stab injuries, and her five-year-old daughter lying unconscious near her in Venkatadri Layout in J P Nagar on Friday morning, the television was tuned to Cartoon Network channel.
A photo of five-year-old sat on top of the TV, which was turned on overnight. The decorative paper cutting with words ‘Happy Birthday’ was strung along the wall in the hall with a sofa set, on which some stuffed toys of the little one along with a half eaten bowl of an egg-based dish was kept.
The neighbours said the five-year-old was lying on the floor with her eyes open beside her mother’s body. The police said that she was in an extremely nervous state and also tearful and doctors had advised a few days rest. The girl’s maternal grandparents are with her.
None of the neighbours on the floors below and above the house seemed to have heard anything during the night. But, a senior police official claimed they had some vital clues. The murder is suspected to have taken place around 8.30 p.m. as Jyothi’s father had been trying to contact her around that time and was unable to reach her.
The incident came to light on Friday when Jyothi’s father grew worried after she did not take calls even in the morning. One of the neighbours, Nagaraj, said that he had received a call from a concerned Narasaiah, asking him to check on Jyothi. As Nagaraj was at work, he called his wife Sushila, who was also contacted by Narsaiah, to check on her. “Narasaiah said that Jyothi’s cellphone had been switched off so he tried calling on the landline at least 10 times but there was no response,” said Sushila who discovered the body when she went to the house.
Neighbours said that the mother-daughter duo was extremely good-natured and did not have any issues with anyone since they rented out the house in the area. The mother-daughter duo would usually be seen together as the girl was being dropped to school. “Jyothi’s parents visited her quite often and sometimes the girl’s father, Hemachandra, would come to meet her or take her out on weekends,” they said. Jyothi Lakshmi, an MBA graduate who had been working with a software firm, was the only daughter of Chikkamma and Narsaiah, a retired employee of Kirloskar, who live in Rajajinagar. Hemachandra had visited the house after the murder came to light.