With its lime green facade, ‘AS Mansion’ on Sourastra 8th Street, Choolaimedu looks as innocuous as any other building in this busy neighborhood. But since Friday night, this paying guest accommodation has acquired a notorious reputation, having housed the suspected killer of Infosys techie Swathi. For three months, Ramkumar called Room No. 404 on the second floor of ‘AS Mansion’ home.
Ramkumar, a 22-year-old man from Tirunelveli was arrested on Friday night in a co-ordinated operation by the Chennai and Tirunelveli police. TK Rajendar, Chennai’s Police Commissioner says, “Ramkumar had been following Swathi and was interested in her. It was when he realised that she was not reciprocating, that he committed the murder.”
The young engineering graduate, who had come to Chennai looking for a job, seems to have been almost invisible, as not many in the locality remember him.
In what has now come to light following his arrest, Ramkumar lived eerily close to Swathi’s house on Gangai Amman Koil Street. The mansion is located less than a kilometre from her residence. The two streets are diagonally opposite.
AS Mansion is a dingy PG accommodation, with 60 rooms and almost 200 people living there, some living two to a room and others, four to a room.
Sathish, who has been a resident of the mansion for four years, told The News Minute, “Till today morning, we did know that a resident here was a suspect. Others say that on June 24, Ramkumar was here. I do not know him. Many of us saw the CCTV footage. We could not make out who it was. The police were coming here regularly, but we had no clue."
Since word of Ramkumar’s arrest and details of his identity spread, a media entourage has been camping outside AS Mansion, eager for some sense of the man who committed the brutal murder at Nungambakkam Station, located in the heart of the city.
The main entrance of the mansion was locked from 2am last night till 10 this morning, so that all the residents could be thoroughly questioned before they were allowed to leave.
Though the names on Room no 404 were that of Harisuthan and Natsan, residents confirmed that they were old tenants. The room had been recently occupied by Ramkumar and another man, who is absconding according to residents.
Chandru, a man who runs a small eatery called ‘Mother’s Kitchen’ near the mansion told The News Minute that staff in his eatery had seen Ramkumar a few times.