Chennai: In what is suspected to be a crime of passion involving a stalker, a 24-year-old woman software-professional was brutally murdered in full public view on the platform of the Nungambakkam suburban railway station minutes before her EMU arrived. The suburban was on time at 6.46 am and left a minute later, without her.
The deceased was identified as Swathi (24), who was living with her family in Jaag Flats, South Gangai Amman Koil I street. As usual, Swathi’s father Santhana Gopalakrishnan dropped her at the station at 6.40 am.
According to eyewitnesses, Swathi was waiting on Platform No. 2 to take a Chennai Beach-Chengelpet EMU when a youth approached her and began talking to her. After a wordy altercation, the youth pulled out a sickle from his backpack and hacked Swathi who was waiting near a PCO booth, which at the time of the incident was yet to open for business.
After committing the murder, the youth fled by foot along the tracks. A shopkeeper, who wished not to be identified, said that all that they heard was a loud cry from a woman and a group of commuters gathered around while she died of profuse bleeding.
“We ran to the spot, and found the woman dead already. We alerted the cops and continued with our business,” he said. The Egmore Government Railway Police (GRP), who have jurisdiction over the railway stations arrived at the spot a few minutes later and began their investigation. They alerted the techie’s father and relatives flocked to the railway station where the body remained on the platform for more than three hours.
As the news of the murder spread, a curious crowd of autorickshaw drivers and others took efforts to take a sneak peek into the crime scene while the GRP personnel made all efforts to preserve the evidence.
The body was then moved to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital for a post-mortem, and was handed over to the family after the procedure. The irate family, which chased away journalists from the residential complex earlier in the day, appealed later to the police through the media to expedite their procedures since they being Iyengars had more rituals to perform.
K. Govindharajan, Swathi’s paternal uncle, said there were no deterrents to the crime. “The station was not under CCTV surveillance and the cops are on a wild-goose chase to nab the culprit. There were no cops present when the crime took place,” he said.
GRP sources said they could do little about regular platform patrols since the entire operations of the GRP were run with a skeletal strength. Preliminary investigations revealed that the victim and her assailant had a window of only 6 minutes to settle whatever relationship issue was brewing between them.
The youth was clearly privy to the routine of the deceased, including the minute details of the train that she would take and the spot on the platform at which she would wait for the train.
CCTV grab of the suspect fleeing from the scene was released by GRP and the cops requested the public to contact them on 1512, a toll free number, if they had anything to throw light on the murder.