Swathi was an IT professional who commuted to work by train. On June 24, 2016, at 6:35 a.m., her father dropped her at the Nungambakkam Railway Station. While she waited for her train to arrive, she was accosted by a young man, allegedly named Ram Kumar. The two had a heated argument and suddenly, in a fit of rage, the man hacked her face with a machete. She died on the spot.
The case galvanized media attention because of the appalling circumstances in which it happened. A killing in daylight in a public area in the midst of mute spectators.
There were no CCTV cameras in the railway station. So the police had their work cut out. However, they claim to have cracked the case in eight days flat and tracked Ram Kumar’s location.
The police used the CCTV camera footage of nearby buildings at the time of the murder to identify the assailant. They analyzed mobile phone call records, data available online about Swathi, and interviewed her friends. They learnt that Ram Kumar had stalked Swathi for two months and was in the area when the murder happened.
Two days after the killing, the landlord of the mansion where the suspect lived informed the police that Ram Kumar had not been seen in the mansion from the date of the murder. This information gave credibility to the suspicion that Ram Kumar was the culprit. Following this, the police discovered that Ram Kumar had left for his hometown.
They swiftly moved there and arrested him. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa applauded the Police team for their fast work in catching the murderer.
Change.org, a social organization, petitioned to the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to install CCTVs in all the Chennai Suburban Stations for the safety of commuters.
Loyola College, located adjacent to the Nungambakkam Railway Station, decided to adopt the station, equip it with CCTV cameras, state-of-the-art amenities and look after security and cleanliness.
These measures will go a long way in keeping commuters safe and preventing such horrifying crimes from recurring.