A year after Swathi murder

Chennai techie murder: Hiding in his hamlet, suspect was tracking manhunt

June 24, 2016: After murdering Chennai techie S. Swathi, P. Ramkumar goes to his mansion at Choolaimedu and changes clothes. Illustration: R. Rajesh  

As the entire police machinery in the city was on the hunt for Ramkumar, the lone assailant in the Swathi murder case was actually tracking updates in police investigation. After escaping to his native Meenakshipuram village near Sengottai in Tirunelveli district, he mostly remained indoors, glued to news channels.

Going by preliminary information shared by police personnel who were part of the operation to nab the suspect on Friday night, Ramkumar was regularly reading newspapers and closely following news updates in television channels about the sensational murder. Newspaper clippings relating to police action and Tamil weeklies were found in the house.

After the mansion watchman Gopal gave the vital lead that ultimately cracked the mystery behind the murder of Swathi, the police alerted Superintendent of Police, Tirunelveli, V. Vikraman about the assailant possibly hiding at Meenakshipuram, his hometown. Within the next few minutes, the information was passed on to Inspector of Police, Tenkasi, Balamurugan.

“Since the young murderer was on the run for more than a week after committing the crime, we suspected he might try to commit suicide. Hence, we decided he should be taken into custody at lightning speed,” said one of the policemen who was part of ‘Operation Meenakshipuram’.

After deploying a couple of ‘shadows’ in the village in the evening to monitor the movement of the suspect, the police launched the operation around midnight.

When Mr. Balamurugan knocked, Ramkumar’s father Paramasivam opened the door. He informed the team that Ramkumar was sleeping in the backyard. By then, a few stray dogs in the locality were barking incessantly. “When we went to the backyard, Ramkumar was sitting in a corner with fresh blood stains on his shirt. He had slit his throat with a sharp weapon. Since Meenakshipuram is a remote village and calling in an ambulance would take time, we arrested the bleeding and rushed him to the nearest Government Hospital,” he said.

Once the suspect was taken into custody, the police also picked up his father, mother Pushpam, sister and an unidentified cousin for interrogation. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior police official said residents would usually gather when the police entered the village. But in the case of Ramkumar’s arrest, none came.

The house was locked immediately after the arrest of Ramkumar and a guard deployed. Two mobile phones, including one suspected to be Swathi’s phone, were seized from Ramkumar’s possession, and both were switched off. Police also found bus and train tickets in his wallet. It now appears that he made his way to Vadapalani, and then took a bus to the railway station where he boarded the Podhigai Express.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 3:53:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Chennai-techie-murder-Hiding-in-his-hamlet-suspect-was-tracking-manhunt/article14468980.ece

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