Umesh Reddy is an Indian cop-turned-serial-rapist and serial killer, who has around 20 cases of rape and murder registered against him. Reddy was sentenced to death on 26 October 2006 by a fast-track court established by the sessions court in Bengaluru for the rape and murder of a 37-year-old woman in Peenya. In November 2022, the Supreme Court commuted his death sentence, converting it to 30-year life imprisonment.
BA Umesh was born in 1969 (age 53 years; as of 2022) in Basappa Malige, a village in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka, India. Growing up, Umesh was fascinated by the men in uniform and desired to become a police officer. He completed his PUC in 1995. While he was in his twenties, Umesh got selected in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and was posted on duty as a guard at the house of a commandant in Jammu and Kashmir. One day, while on duty, Umesh attempted to rape the daughter of the commandant. Following the incident, he was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police. However, he escaped from police custody and fled to his hometown in 1996. In Chitradurga, Reddy managed to join the District Armed Reserve (DAR) Police. During a media conversation, while talking about it, a police official said,
There were no systems in place then to check backgrounds of people, so after running away from CRPF, he came to Chitradurga and became a constable in District Armed Reserve (DAR) in 1996. But he didn’t stick around there either, because he was caught in a rape case there as well.”
After receiving his police training in Madhya Pradesh, he returned to Karnataka, where he was posted as a constable at Hiriyur taluk in the Chitradurga district. There, he got involved in petty crimes like robbery and road rage, but the police ignored it considering the nature of the crime. After a few months of service, Reddy was dismissed from his post following a complaint against him for attempting to rape a minor girl.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Not much is known about his father. Umesh’s mother’s name is Gowramma. He is the only child of his parents.
Umesh Reddy shot to notoriety after attempting to rape the daughter of a CRPF commandant. He then attempted to rape a school-going girl near the KEB colony in Chitradurga. The girl hit him with a brick and somehow managed to escape from there. In 1996, Reddy raped that murdered Roopa, a 16-year-old girl who lived in the same colony and was going back to her home. Umesh then rented a house in Bangalore. In Bangalore, he targeted the wife of an income tax officer, raping and murdering her under the name Ramesh. Thereafter, he raped and killed a number of women one after another- a girl in Ahmedabad, two girls in Baroda, a widow in Kunigal, two women in Mysore, and five girls in Bangalore (one each in Gangammanagudi, Jalahalli, and Yeshwanthpur, and two in MICO layout police stations). Reddy would often steal women’s lingerie put up for drying in the backyards of houses. He was even arrested for stealing undergarments in 1997. However, Reddy escaped. When the police tightened its noose in Bangalore, Reddy flew to Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Baroda, and carried out his operations there. In Baroda, Reddy robbed the house of a man named Shah, threatened his daughters, and fled with Rs. 1 lakh and a Maruti car. Subsequently, he rented a room in Madavara village near Peenya. In February 1998, Reddy raped and killed a 37-year-old widow and a former nurse named Jayashree Maradi Subbaiah in Peenya. The case is considered one of the most dreaded crimes of Reddy. Reddy was also involved in four thefts and three rapes in Davangere, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, and Pune. During his stay in Pune, he worked as a waiter at a hotel from where he stole cash and clothes and fled to Dharwad. Reddy was also involved in the theft of three mobile phones and two credit cards.
Jayashree Maradi Subbaiah’s Murder
On 28 February 1998, Reddy, knocked the door of a house in Peenya. When Jayashree Maradi Subbaiah, a 37-year-old widow and former nurse opened the door, he asked for some water. Finding Jayashree alone at home, Reddy pointed a knife at her and threatened her to remove her clothes. Next, he tied her to a window grill and began raping her. After he was done, Reddy strangled Subbaiah. Some police officials even claim that he repeatedly had sex with her dead body. In the evening, when Jayashree’s 8-year-old son returned home from school, he found his mother lying on the floor in an unconscious state, with her hands tied to the window grill and blood oozing from her body. A man was standing near Jayashree’s body. On being asked about Jayashree, Reddy informed the boy that his mother was possessed by some evil spirit and that he was trying to get that spirit out of her. Soon, he left the spot on the pretext of bringing a doctor. Panicked by her mother’s condition, the boy went to a neighbour’s house, informing them about the incident. Soon, their neighbours called the police.
Umesh Reddy chose his victims very carefully. He mostly targeted single women, homemakers, and widows. Reddy used to visit houses in the afternoon between 11 am and 3 pm when men were out for work. He used to gain entry into victims’ houses on the pretext of asking for water, renting an apartment, or confirming an address. After entering the house, Reddy used to threaten his victims using a knife, forcing them to remove their clothes. Umesh often tied and choked his victims and raped them while they were unconscious. After raping his victims, Umesh would kill them. To make the crime look like a robbery, Umesh used to remove all the jewellery from the victims’ bodies and carried it along with him. Before leaving the crime scene, Reddy also used to collect the victim’s undergarments and used to try them. After his arrest, police found several bags containing women’s garments- 10 bras, 18 pairs of panties, six sarees, 4 blouses, eight churidars, and two nighties.
Arrests & Escapes
Umesh Reddy became the reason for cops and women to run for their lives in the late 90s, having hoaxed the police multiple times. He was finally caught in 2002 in Yeshwantpur in Bengaluru. Reddy was first arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police for attempting to rape the daughter of a CRPF commandant. However, Reddy managed to escape police custody. In January 1997, he was identified by the minor girl (whom Reddy tried to rape at the KEB Colony) during the Republic Day police parade in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka. He was immediately arrested by the DAR police and a case was registered against him. Meanwhile, he was also dismissed from his services by the DAR Police. Reddy confessed to kidnapping, raping, and murdering Rupa during the police interrogation. While the DAR police were handing him over to the Bellary jail authorities, Reddy escaped police custody yet again. On 7 July 1997, he was arrested by the Peenya police while he was caught stealing women’s undergarments from the backyard of a house. However, he gave the police a run within 24 hours while he was being taken to the MICO Layout police station for interrogation in some other case. Although the police tried to hide his escape, a habeas corpus petition (a fundamental right in the Constitution that protects against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment) filed by Reddy’s father in the Karnataka High Court led to the suspension of two police officials.
A lookout notice was also issued against Reddy. In March 1998, the police laid a trap for Reddy after he committed the murder of Jayashree and successfully captured him within a week of Jayashree’s rape and murder. Apparently, Reddy attempted to rape another woman in Peenya when the public caught him and handed him over to the police. However, Umesh again ran away from the Parappana Agrahara Jail in Bengaluru. Months later, he was caught when he landed in a hospital after an accident on a stolen motorcycle. The doctors who provided treatment to Reddy informed the police that he was wearing women’s undergarments underneath his clothes. After his arrest, Reddy was sent to Hiriyur jail. While Reddy was being taken to the court from jail for the hearing of a case, he once again escaped police custody near Hirekerur. However, he was soon arrested in Chikkaballapur. A few days later, When Reddy was being transferred to a Bangalore jail in a KSRTC bus, he escaped police custody at Hiriyur bypass. After two months, when he was arrested, Reddy claimed that he was not handcuffed when he fled the police custody at Hiriyur bypass. The police, however, said that he was handcuffed. Describing the incident, Reddy said that he consumed liquor and also offered it to the police constables escorting him. He then requested the policemen to remove their handcuffs as he had to answer nature’s call. As soon as the police removed his cuffs, he ran into the fields and escaped the police. On 17 May 2002, Reddy reached Bangalore from Tumkur through a lorry. At around 8 in the morning, he entered a haircutting salon in the Yeshwanthpur area to get a haircut. While he was sitting at the salon, an autorickshaw driver named Shaktivel, who saw Reddy’s photograph published in a newspaper, recognised him and gave the information to the Yeshwanthpur police. Soon, a police team headed by inspector Nagaraja Urs reached the spot and nabbed Reddy while he was walking out of the salon. Enraged with Reddy’s acts, the onlookers wanted to beat him, but the police pacified them and took Reddy away. Shaktivel was rewarded Rs, 20,000 for helping the police. Thereafter, Umesh Reddy was kept in solitary confinement at Hindalga jail in Belagavi for around 15 years. According to the police, Umesh was kept under tight security and was not allowed to leave his cell even to have food. The food was served to him in his cell. He woke up at around 5:45 every morning, did yoga for some time and then read the newspaper. He had appealed to the jail authorities several times to change his cell, but his demand got rejected.
Umesh Reddy confessed to raping and killing around 20 women across Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. While Reddy was pronounced guilty in 9 cases, he was exculpated in 11 cases due to a lack of sufficient evidence. In 2006, a fast-tract court was established by the sessions court in Bengaluru for the rape and murder of Jayashree Subbaiah, a 37-year-old woman from Peenya. Terming the rape and murder case of Jayashree Subbaiah the most heinous crime, Judge K Sukanya pronounced a death sentence for Reddy. While passing the death sentence, Judge K Sukanya said,
It is directed that accused Umesh Reddy be hanged till death because he is a menace to society.”
Reddy tried to win the mercy of the judge by saying that he was still studying and that he had to take care of his mother, but the judge did not soften. The judge also found him guilty in other cases and sentenced him to seven years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000. He was sentenced to another 10 years in jail and a fine was imposed on him of Rs. 25,000. Since Reddy was given capital punishment, the case was referred by the judge to the Karnataka High Court as per the procedure. In October 2007, Reddy was also convicted by the division bench of the Karnataka High Court, but the judges differed on the quantum of the sentence. Upholding the death penalty, Justice V G Sabhahit said,
Imprisonment for life could be inadequate, and the offence committed by the accused constitutes the rarest of the rare cases. The interest of justice would be met only by awarding the death penalty to him.”
However, Justice Ravi B Naik advocated rigorous imprisonment for life with no scope for amnesty and said,
Imposition of the death penalty is not called for in this case. The death sentence be set aside and accused should undergo rigorous imprisonment until he completes his natural life. He shall not be entitled to any remission of sentence, amnesty or any special occasion either by state or centre.”
Subsequently, a third judge Justice S R Bannurmath was appointed to decide Reddy’s fate. Bannurmath upheld the fast-track court judgment by confirming Reddy’s death sentence. Reading out the verdict, the high court judge ruled that there was no scope for finding any mitigating circumstances in Reddy’s favour. He said,
The accused, being a habitual offender, the sentences of imprisonment imposed on him in several cases had no deterrent effect on him.”
Terming the case as rarest of the rare, he said,
It is evident that even after punishments in cases of robbery, dacoity and rape, he has not reformed; no reformation can be expected from such a habitual offender and pervert criminal.”
He further said,
I do not understand why such a devil in man’s garb should be maintained by society by locking him up in jail for life. It is a known fact that whenever there is an opportunity, he has a tendency to run away from custody and commit new, heinous crimes.”
Subsequently, Umesh challenged the decision of the Karnataka High Court before the apex court of India. In February 2011, the Supreme Court also upheld the death sentence. Reddy immediately filed a mercy petition before the President of India which was rejected by the President on 12 May 2013. Thereafter, he filed a fresh petition before a Supreme Court constitution bench. In November 2022, the Supreme Court commuted his death sentence, converting it to 30-year life imprisonment, on the ground that he was kept in solitary confinement for 10 years.
- Umesh Reddy often approached his victims with different names like Rajulu, Ramesh, and Venkatesh.
- A transvestite, Umesh Reddy was often found wearing women’s lingerie underneath his clothes.
- Reddy is often referred to as Jack the Ripper by the Indian media.
- In 2013, a Kannada language film titled Umesh was based on the life of Umesh Reddy. In the same year, another Kannada film based on the life of Reddy was released. The film was titled Khatarnak Umesh Reddy.
- In 2017, in the Kannada film titled Dandupalya 2, Reddy’s character was portrayed by Adi Lokesh. In the film, he played one of the inmates of the Hindalga Prison; he was a member of the Dandupalya gang in the film.
- In 2022, a Kannada crime docu-series titled Indian Predator: Beast of Bangalore (Saga of a former cop-turned-predator) based on the life of Umesh Reddy was released on Netflix.