Bengaluru, Mar 9: A 31-year-old man arrested for rape in 2014 and given bail a year later, has been arrested again by the Bengaluru police, who suspect that he raped two women who live in hostels in the city last week.
A 23-year-old woman has told the police that she was raped at knife-point at her paying-guest accommodation by a man in HAL police station limits, close to the IT offices district. Three days later, another woman who lives in another hostel in the area said a man had robbed and sexually assaulted her.
When the women described their attacker, the police instantly suspected it could be Shivarama Reddy. "When we showed his photo, there was a positive identification," a senior police officer Hemant Nimbalkar said.
When a police team tried to arrest Reddy on Tuesday, he allegedly attacked them with a knife injuring three policemen. The police said 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, Reddy has lived in and around Bengaluru for the last 15 years. He speaks four languages - Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and English.
Reddy, the police said, has targeted single women living in Bengaluru's paying guest accommodation or hostels. "His modus operandi was to rob women in PG accommodation and rape them if they were alone," Mr Nimbalkar said.
He was arrested in August 2014 and four police cases were filed against him for alleged rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of a woman. But he stayed in jail for only a year before being given bail.
That a man accused of multiple rapes has been walking in and out of jail has shocked Bengaluru. "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 against him, said this time they have evidence for a water-tight case.