|In the past two years, four software employees have been murdered|
ACCUSED: The three who allegedly murdered software engineer Manoj Kumar, at the Tilaknagar police station in Bangalore on Saturday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
BANGALORE: The murder of young software engineer Manoj Kumar has thrown up the all-important question: how safe are information technology (IT) professionals working in Bangalore?
With the influx of IT and ITES companies to the city, there is a notion that professionals from these firms are increasingly becoming soft targets for criminals.
In the past two years, at least three young software engineers were murdered and robbed of cash, credit and debit cards, mobile phones and gold. Another, a woman, was sexually assaulted and killed.
Three of these cases were reported from the South-East division of the city police, which has jurisdiction over the IT corridor.
While 24-year-old Manoj was a native of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Adeep Lahiri (32), murdered in December 2006, and Rakesh Kumar (25), strangled in April 2005, were from Kolkata and Ranchi. Pratibha Srikanth Murthy (24), who was done to death in December 2005, was from the State.
Interestingly, these murders were committed not by organised gangs but by first-time offenders. One of the accused in Lahiri's murder was an IT company employee and the other a former housekeeping employee at ITPL. The alleged mastermind of Manoj's killing was an attender in a software company.
Besides these murders, in the past three years some 50 employees of IT firms, business process outsourcing (BPO) units and call centres have been waylaid and robbed of cash and valuables by armed robbers.
According to the police, the odd working hours and the often flashy lifestyle of the software professionals and BPO executives are the major causes for the crimes. Criminals target software engineers as they assume these highly-paid professionals always carry with them cash, credit cards, high-end mobile phones and laptops.
IT professionals going home late are increasingly the easy target of robbers. An analysis of such crimes shows that in most of the cases, the victims were robbed between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Most of these professionals are immediately recognisable because of the identity cards slung around their neck. Quite a few of the younger employees of IT firms return home only at midnight or later after partying at a friend's house or a resort. There have been cases of such revellers being mugged.
The police say that they have come across many cases where burglars had identified the houses of IT professionals and looted them. Many of the IT and BPO employees who come home late are usually fast asleep in the early hours of the day.
There have been instances when thieves have struck at their houses, which were not properly locked.
© Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu