Swathi murder suspect held in Tirunelveli, tries to kill himself

The accused has been identified as Ramkumar from Meenakshipuram in Tirunelveli.

Making a breakthrough in the sensational murder of Infosys software engineer S. Swathi (24) at the Nungambakkam railway station in Chennai last week, the police late on Friday arrested her suspected killer in Tirunelveli in southern Tamil Nadu.

Confirming the arrest to The Hindu, a senior police officer, who is part of the investigation team, said, the accused Ramkumar, a 22-year-old engineering graduate from Meenakshipuram in Tirunelveli, slit his throat with a sharp object when the police surrounded him. The suspect sustained 60 per cent injury and was rushed to the Government Hospital in Tenkasi where he was given first aid. He was later rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital in Tirunelveli for treatment. Doctors who examined the gash said that the injury was not serious. “He is fine and will be shifted to the ICU ward after a minor procedure” a doctor said.

On last Friday , Swathi was waiting at platform number 2 of the railway station to board a train to work, when the suspect hacked Swathi to death from behind.

The arrest ended Chennai’s biggest manhunt in recent years that began exactly a week ago. Police indicated that the accused had stayed for a few months in Choolaimedu, Chennai, where Swathi lived with her parents.

Earlier, 100-odd policemen assigned to the investigation in different locations were desperately sifting through several pieces of CCTV footage from various sources, and questioning hundreds of people.

Choolaimedu, chock-a-block with shops and houses and abutting the station, was the focus of the search as the murderer had escaped into this labyrinth. Police were going literally door-to-door there, asking questions. Other teams fanned out at Paranur, the railway station 40 km to Chennai’s south, near Swathi’s Infosys office. Personnel also made inquiries at her office for days.

Chennai Police Commissioner T.K. Rajendran had formed a special team, headed by an Additional Commissioner and comprising a Joint Commissioner, several senior officers and Inspectors. Ten teams with about 10 members each were on the job, and their progress was reviewed daily by the police brass.

The Crime Branch CID provided technical support, while the Railway Police participated informally in the manhunt.

About 100 pieces of CCTV footage were viewed, and details of thousands of phone calls made in the region before and after the crime were analysed. Police had also scoured CCTV footage from the major transport hubs – Chennai Central, Egmore and Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus, before tracking him down in his native place.

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