CHENNAI: A 24-year-old woman software engineer was hacked to death by an unidentified man at Nungambakkam Railway Station on Friday morning even as aghast commuters looked on.
S Swathi, a systems engineer with Infosys, arrived at the station at 6.35am to board the 6.45am train for Chengalpet. Her father Santhanagopala Krishnan had given her a ride to the spot from their house on South Gengai Amman Koil Street in Choolaimedu less than a km away .
Swathi had been with Infosys since December 2014, working at the company’s Mahindra Tech Park office near Maraimalai Nagar, and taking the 6.45 was her daily routine.
As Swathi waited for the train near where the rake’s ladies’ compartment would halt on Platform 2, a man wearing a checked shirt and black trousers and carrying a backpack approached. After a heated argument that lasted two minutes, the man took out a machete from his bag and rained blows to her face and neck.
As soon as she swooned, the man calmly walked out of the station.
Video footage that investigators picked up from a house outside the railway station showed the man crossing Sowrashtra Nagar Road in a hurry at 6.43am. A shopkeeper on the platform told police he saw a man in his 30s arguing with Swathi and then attacking her with a knife.He informed railway staff who alerted police.
“We heard her cries and went running to her aid,” said Sultan, a shopkeeper.”But she was injured severely was dead in minutes. The killer escaped by merging with the crowd.”
Police released the footage of the killer. There were no RPF personnel at the station nor a security camera.A Government Railway Police (GRP) team rushed to the spot but didn’t move the body to a hospital for more than an hour and a half.
GRP officers informed Swathi’s family. Her father Krishnan, a retired central government employee, rushed there and broke down on seeing her body.
Investigators said Swathi’s cellphone was missing and that the killer may have taken it to destroy evidence. The GRP registered a murder case and are questioning her colleagues and friends to see if Swathi had told them about a stalker.
“We have obtained certain clues and are confident of nabbing the killer soon,” said superintendent of police, Chennai GRP, P Vijayakumar.
In a statement, Infosys said: “We are saddened by the unfortunate incident that has led to the demise of our employee in Chennai. We are working with local authorities as they investigate the matter and will continue to provide cooperation and support. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family of the deceased. Infosys will provide all necessary support to the family in the hour of grief.”
Opposition leader M K Stalin hit out at the government over a series of murders in the city, including Friday’s horrific crime.
“The government should give police full freedom to prevent such murders and not be indifferent to maintaining law and order situation,” he said, accusing the government of being irresponsible.