Chennai: Ramkumar, the lone suspect in the Swathi murder case, allegedly committed suicide by getting hold of a live wire at the Puzhal central prison complex here on Sunday evening.
Preliminary reports said the suspect bit a live electric cable that was concealed in a switch board. At the time of his arrest, Ramkumar had attempted to kill himself by slitting his throat but was saved.
Ramkumar is alleged to be the assailant of techie Swathi who was hacked to death in the Numgambakkam railway station when she was waiting to board a suburban train on June 24 this year.
Based on CCTV footage and other circumstantial and material evidence, the Chennai Police arrested Ramkumar, an engineering college dropout, from his native village near Tenkasi in Tirunelveli district.
“Since Ramkumar had attempted to commit suicide at the time of his arrest, we arranged counselling at the Puzhal prison where he was remanded in judicial custody. We kept a close watch on his activities. He did not show any signs of depression or suicidal tendencies,” a prison official said.
On information that he had bit a live wire and fainted, prison warders rushed him to the jail hospital where his pulse started dropping fast.
Ramkumar was taken to the Government Royapettah Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police sources said.
The sensational murder of Swathi, an Infosys employee, triggered instant public outrage and condemnation from the civil society.
Though investigators claimed that CCTV footage showed the suspect escaping from the scene of crime and further investigation led to recovery of his blood stained clothes and the mobile phone of the victim (Swathi) from his possession, Ramkumar’s family and some human rights activists alleged that he was not involved in the murder and there was more to the case than meets the eye.
Ramkumar, who was staying in a mansion at Choolaimedu and looking for a job, reportedly stalked Swathi. Eyewitnesses in the case recalled having seen him follow the victim to Paranur railway station close to her work place.
Family members of Ramkumar suspected foul play in his death. It was not clear immediately whether any other prisoner was witness to Ramkumar snatching the electric wire out of the switch board to biting it.
Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) Vijay Kumar said jail authorities arranged first aid shifted him to the Government Royapettah Hospital when his condition deteriorated. “We are investigating the circumstances that led to the prisoner taking the extreme step,” he said.