Meet the witness who helped nail the killers and Spouse murderer
Nayak Thomas Neelamkavil (57), an ex-army man, did not budge despite threats as he fought to get Girish’s murderers punished
July 15, 2010
The four killers of Intel techie Girish might have got away but for Thomas Neelamkavil (57), the eyewitness who dared to testify in court.
Thomas says he has lived through threat calls and allurements since December 2003. “The police come to my house every day to see if I am all right,” he said.
Thomas was driving with his friend Tolly Ukken near Air View Point in Koramangala when he saw a man being attacked.
“I stopped my car and rushed towards the assailant. He was attacked me with a motorbike silencer,” he recalls.
Thomas was not deterred, and confronted the attacker, who then fled. He handed over the laptop and engagement photos he had found on the spot to the police.
Thomas became a prime witness after the death of Girish in the hospital. “I decided the killer had to be punished, and agreed to testify,” he said.
His friend told him not to get involved when he rushed to Girish’s help. “He warned I would land in trouble. But I had no fear. As an army man, I had rescued many people in Assam. All of them, though badly injured, had managed to survive,”
His wife and children were apprehensive when the police gave him armed security for six months. “Strangers approached me many times asking me to tell the court I was not present when Girish was killed. I got threat calls. They also tried to tempt me by saying they were willing to pay me any amount.”
Two others helped nail the killers: Investigating Officer H G Dawood Khan and public prosecutor B Venkata Rao.
“We have struggled for five years to build the documents meticulously,” Khan said, adding that skills he had gained when he was an advocate earlier in his career helped him collect evidence.
B Venkat Rao (63), special public prosecutor, too played a big role. Rao took on famous criminal lawyer C V Nagesh and established the guilt of the four accused. “I have only done my duty,” he said.
A life sentence is...
Though a life sentence is prescribed as punishment in the Indian Penal Code, it is not quantified in that book.
“In a strict jurisprudence sense, life imprisonment means keeping a person in jail till his or her death,” said advocate Shankarappa.
But each State has the power to fix the number of years of imprisonment for a life sentence. “The Karnataka Police Manual fixes this at 14 years. So anyone sentenced to life will have to stay imprisoned for 14 years,” said former State Public Prosecutor Dore Raju. Shubha, convicted of killing her fiance B V Girish, is likely to serve 14 years.
JAILED TILL DEATH
But the judge can interpret life sentence to mean that the convict should be imprisoned till death. “In the case of serial killer Umesh Reddy, I tried hard to get him a death sentence. The case finally went to the Third Bench where Justice Ravi Naik said life imprisonment for him would mean he stays in jail till he died,” Dore Raju said.
The court felt the convict staying in prison till his death would send out the right signal.