The gruesome murder of 24-year-old techie named Swathi by her stalker, a 22-year-old engineering graduate named Ramkumar, in full public view on the platform of Nungambakkam Railway Station on the morning of June 24th became a sensation since the last one week.
Even though the murder took place in broad daylight amidst hundreds of onlookers, no witness dared to come forward and identify Swathi’s killer. In a scenario where there were hardly any evidences to nab the culprit, the way the TN police solved Swathi’s murder mystery out of a small CCTV footage grab is winning everyone’s praise.
After a 5-day long manhunt, the cops finally arrested Ramkumar in his Meenakshipuram residence yesterday morning and later shifted him to Tenkasi General Hospital after he attempted suicide by slitting his throat with a blade in a bid to escape from the cops.
Here’s the chronology of the events that took place from Swathi’s murder and till Ramkumar’s arrest:
* Swathi’s father drops her at the Nungambakkam Railway Station at 6 am.
* At around 6:30 am while waiting for her local train to go to her Infosys campus in Choolaimedu, Ramkumar stabs Swathi thrice from behind and leaves as Swathi lies in a pool of blood.
* At 9 am, cops shift Swathi’s body and the news spread like wildfire the media and social media, shaking off the entire country.
* Lack of CCTV cameras at the Nungambakkam Railway Station hinder cops’ search for Swathi’s killer. After much struggle, cops grabbed the CCTV footage acquired from a locality’s residence which shows the culprit walking on the road. The CCTV grab goes viral on social media.
* Another CCTV footage revealed the killer, but his face was difficult to identify making the investigation tough.
* Furious over the lackluster efforts by the RPF cops in the case, the Madras High Court handed the case to Chennai City Police.
* 8 special teams take part in the investigation. Thousands of calls were traced. Media and political pressure mounts on police with opposition leaders meeting Swathi’s grieving family.
* High Court warns the Chennai Police of voluntarily investigation if they failed to nab the culprit at the earliest. Swathi’s father requests the media not to publish false reports on his daughter.
* Cops freeze Swathi’s Facebook account.
* Cops gets hold of high resolution images of Swathi’s killer Ramkumar. Cops go on a huge manhunt literally searching every house in Choolaimedu. Traces AS Mansion lodge where Manager confirms Ramkumar was staying.
* Cops recover Ramkumar’s blood stained shirt, weapon used in the murder and locate Ramkumar’s address in Meenakshipuram in Tirunelveli district.
* Following the Chennai Police orders, Tirunelveli Cops in mufti close in on Ramkumar at his residence at 10 pm.
* Noticing the cops, Ramkumar, in a bid to escape, slits his throats and attempts suicide. Cops admit him to Tirunelveli General Hospital where they are waiting for the doctors to discharge him to arrest him. CM Jayalalithaa, media and people across the country laud the police for solving the mystery.
* In the police investigation, Ramkumar, who recovered from the injury, revealed that he turned into a demon after Swathi constantly refused to accept his love and also chided him calling him a Langur monkey (Kondamuchu).
* Ramkumar revealed that he met Swathi through Facebook and that he moved to Chennai only for her.
* Ramkumar revealed that he stole the sickle which used to kill her from a banana farm near his hometown. However, he said he never had any intentions to kill Swathi, but lost his senses and stabbed her when Swathi insulted him and refused his love.
* Ramkumar said he fled Chennai after watching the news about Swathi’s death at his AS Mansion lodge. He revealed that he attempted suicide after noticing a lady police visiting his house in mufti.
* Ramkumar was shifted from the Palayam Kottai Hospital to Chennai’s Royapettah’s Hospital amidst tight security in an ambulance. Hundreds of people visited the hospital catch a few glimpses of Ramkumar.
* Ramkumar will be presented before the judicial magistrate on Monday.
* Swathi’s uncle Govindarajan pleaded for strict punishment to Ramkumar and requested the police that such tragic incidents must end with Swathi’s death.
Swathi murder: Ram Kumar was an aloof mechanical engineer
Who is Ramkumar? Not many can answer the question. None in Chennai where he spent just about three months, or back in his native, from where he was arrested on Saturday night, bringing an end to the desperate hunt for the elusive killer of the young Chennai girl, S Swathi.
The Meenakshipuram village near Shengottai in Tirunelveli is in a state of shock. Most of them are hesitant to talk to the press. Ramkumar, the 24-year-old son of R Paramasivan who digs trenches to lay telecom cable for a living, and Pushpam, a daily wage worker, has always remained elusive, says a classmate, from the Panchayat Primary School days.
As a child, he never played with his mates and as a teenager, he rarely interacted with others in the village. He would instead graze goats, sometimes flipping through a book, local villagers told Express.
“It was a shock to know that the boy is the suspect in Swathi murder case. He was always mild-mannered, who would speak only if spoken to. Otherwise, he would just walk by quietly,” said a middle aged woman who refused to identify herself.
There, however, was one person who had a different story. A woman from the village alleged that Ramkumar had once harassed a girl in the neighbourhood, who somehow managed to escape. The woman refused to identify herself or the other girl, stating that she was now happily married. Ramkumar studied mechanical engineering at the Einstein Engineering College near Alangulam, but has many arrear papers to clear.
Ramkumar finished schooling at his village school and went to study at government higher secondary school in Panpoli, and then to SMSS Boys higher secondary school in Shengottai where he studied up to class 12.
One of the changes that happened to him when he went out of the village was acquiring a mobile phone. It was a costly one, said one of them from his native village. He was always seen fidgeting with the gadget, he added. A boy from the neighbourhood remembers him as one who used to encourage them to study well.
A senior at college remembered Ramkumar as a reserved person, who had a limited circle of friends. He never participated in college activities. “Both friends and seniors used to make fun of him during college. It is beyond imagination to think of such a person committing a brutal murder,” the senior told Sunday Express.
In Chennai where he landed three months ago, he is even more elusive. He stayed at the cramped A S Mansion in one of those countless interior lanes of Choolaimedu for a rent of Rs 1,500 in a room he shared with Natesan, a 50-year-old working as a security guard at a private firm in Ekkatuthangal near Guindy.
When the police team showed up with a photograph, Natesan identified his roommate, about whom he but knew almost nothing. Not his education or occupation, family details or what he was doing in Chennai. “Natesan had no idea about him except for his name,” a senior police officer with the city police told Express. “He had kept it that way. Not much conversation happened between us. He was always aloof,” the officer quoted Natesan as saying.
A native of Sholanganallur in Trichy district, Natesan has been working as a security guard in the city for some years now. Express visited his workplace and attempted to speak with him, but he was unwilling to speak.
Sources said Natesan had informed the police about the suspicious nature of his roommate when they released the suspect’s picture. “When we finally pinned down Ramkumar as the prime suspect, all his details and a photograph was recovered from the ledger in the mansion,” said an investigating officer.
There were about 200 other staying in the mansion, none of whom knew anything much about the young man. “He kept to himself, never interacting or mingling with anyone else,” said a senior official.
Swathi murder case: Prime accused Ramkumar to be brought before court today
In Tamil Nadu, the prime accused Ramkumar in the software engineer Swathi murder case will be brought before Chennai Egmore court today.
Ramkumar was taken to Chennai from Tirunelveli yesterday in an ambulance after doctors gave the permission to travel.
Swathi, a young engineer working in private IT company was murdered at Nungambakkam railway station on 24th of June.
Nellai District Magistrate Ramadas took the statement from Ramkumar and doctors gave the go ahead for travel.
Ramkumar was arrested on Friday night by special team of police.
When police surrounded him at his house in Shencottai Minatchipuram village, Ramkumar tried to slit his throat and was admitted to Tirunelveli government hospital.
A team of three doctors in the 108 ambulance accompanied him with armed police escort in the ambulance.
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