The accused, also a 24-year-old techie named Ram Kumar, reportedly attempted suicide as the police were catching him. He is now recovering in a hospital.
Police say Ram Kumar stayed near the victim Swathi S’ house and was infatuated with her.A new photo of the suspect was released on Thursday which gave a front view of him – a thin young man with a backpack – for the first time.
Swathi was killed with a sickle last Friday, and the suspect was seen running away from the platform in footage captured by CCTV cameras in nearby buildings – the Nangambakkam railway station, where the incident took place, has no CCTV cameras.
The crime has generated waves of shock and anger, not just over its gruesome nature, but also because of the complete lack of response from those who witnessed the crime.
On Friday, Swathi was waiting for her train to work at around 6.45 am when the attacker approached her and, after an argument, grabbed a sickle from his backpack and struck her repeatedly.
Swathi’s body was left on the platform for over two hours as those who watched the attack did nothing to stop the killer; many left by the next train. The police arrived only hours later, which led the Madras High Court to comment that Swathi’s body was left “lying like an exhibition”.
The court’s two-day deadline to crack the case ended on Wednesday. It had stepped in following reports of a lack of coordination between the railway police, which had initially inquired into the incident, and the Chennai police.
Over the last few days, investigators have questioned Swathi’s parents, relatives, close friends and colleagues. The police say Swathi had been stalked for months.