Bengaluru: A 31-year-old man arrested for rape in 2014 was caught again by the Bengaluru police on Tuesday over suspicions that he raped two more women last week. Police said Shivarama Reddy, who was released from jail in 2015, would target single women living in the city — sexually assaulting and robbing them.
Bengaluru’s paying guest accommodation for women were his favourite hunting grounds. “His modus operandi was to rob women in PG accommodation and rape them if they were alone,” Hemant Nimbalkar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Bengaluru East) reportedly told media.
Last week, a 23-year-old woman living in a hostel complained to the police she was raped at knife-point on March 2. Three days later, another woman in another hostel complained a man had robbed and sexually assaulted her.
When the first woman described the man, the police suspected his identity. “When we showed his photo, there was a positive identification,” Mr Nimbalkar said.
Police said Reddy was arrested in August 2014 under the Goonda Act but he stayed behind bars for only a year. In 2013-14, four police cases were filed against him for alleged rape, sexual harassment, outraging the modesty of a woman.
When a police team tried to catch him on Tuesday, he allegedly attacked them with a knife injuring three policemen. Police say they had to open fire at Reddy just off the city’s Marathahalli Outer Ring Road, injuring him in the leg before he could be arrested.
Originally from Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district, the man had been living in and around Bengaluru for the last 15 years and spoke four languages, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and English, police said.
That a man accused of multiple rapes had been walking in and out of jail, and committing the sexual assaults has shocked many. “What is the chargesheet filed by police that he is being let off?” said Brinda Adige, a prominent activist, stressing there was a need to hold the judiciary accountable too.
The Bengaluru police – who have filed 16 cases registered against him — said this time they had the evidence for a water-tight case.