Chennai station murder: Stalker harassed Sathya Priya for a year, cops took no action

Continued harassment by Sathish had led Sathya Priya to file complaints against him twice, at Mambalam and St Thomas Mount police stations. Instead, however, a ‘compromise’ was reached.

Twenty-year-old Sathya Priya’s life came to a horrific end on October 13, Thursday, when a man she knew pushed her in front of an oncoming train at St Thomas Mount Railway Station in Chennai. According to police sources, the killer D Sathish (30) had been harassing Sathya, a BSc student at Jain College in T Nagar, for a year. Sathish’s continued harassment had even led to her filing two complaints against him, at Mambalam and St Thomas Mount police stations.

Sathish is the son of a retired Special Sub Inspector (SSI), who worked at the Adambakkam Police Station. Sathya’s mother is a police officer at the same police station. Both Sathya and Sathish lived in the same area in Guindy, where they first met.

On May 20, 2022, Sathya’s mother Ramalakshmi filed a complaint with Mambalam Police Station, alleging that Sathish was arguing with her daughter outside her school. On May 23, the police registered an FIR and booked Sathish under section 75 of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act, 1888 – punishment for drunkenness or licentious or indecent behavior in public places. Sathish was arrested but received bail from the station the same day. Sathish was not booked for stalking or harassment.

Two days later, Ramalakshmi filed another complaint at St. Thomas Mount train station against Sathish. Sources told TNM that the police have asked both families to appear for an investigation. However, a ‘compromise’ was made and no FIR was registered. Ramalakshmi had to say in writing that she did not want to proceed with the complaint.

Despite the complaints against him and the “compromise” of the police, Sathish did not stop harassing Sathya. Sources tell TNM that Sathish had instead started stalking Sathya wherever she went. Questions are now being raised as to why no stalking or harassment case has been filed against Sathish.

Neighbors described Sathya as a polite, friendly young woman. Everyone in the neighborhoods usually identified her house as “Sathya’s house,” they said. One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “If someone says no, someone should leave them alone. But this boy’s thought was ‘if I can’t have her, no one can’. Was she born for him?”

According to Sathya’s classmate, who refused to be identified even after a complaint was filed against him, Sathish had appeared at her college just a month ago and caused a stir. “I used to take her to the station on my bike. Sathish would be waiting in front of the bike repair shop. One day I called and asked her father to come. There was a fight, her father yelled at him. This was two months ago. The family has filed a complaint. But about a month ago, Sathish came to college and created a scene. Some other guys and I had to step in and force him to leave, but he made Sathya say she loves him in front of everyone.”

The bicycle repair shop where Sathish would wait for Sathya

“I would have taken her home yesterday too, usually I do. But I couldn’t and this happened. All our classmates are grieving back in college,” he added.

On Thursday, Sathish followed her to St Thomas Mount Railway Station and got into an argument with her, before fatally pushing her onto the track as a train approached. Sathya’s body got under the wheels and she died on the spot. Immediately afterwards Sathish fled the station, an eyewitness says:. The Railway Police later arrived at the murder scene and removed Sathya’s body from the tracks. The body was then sent for an autopsy. As part of the investigation into the case, four teams have been formed under the Railroad Police and three under the St. Thomas Mount Commissioner of Law and Order. Police also retrieved CCTV footage from the station and nearby areas to establish the suspect’s identity. Sathish was eventually arrested in the early hours of Friday. He was found in Thoraipakkam and was transferred to Mambalam Police Station for further questioning. Tragically, a day after the murder of his daughter, Sathya’s father Manikam died by suicide on Friday.

Sathya’s murder sheds light on several concerns, one of the most important being that such a tragedy could have been avoided had her complaints not been ignored in the first place. Moreover, this is also not the first time that crimes such as the murder of Sathya have taken place at a train station in Chennai. Her death is strongly reminiscent of the 2016 murder of 24-year-old Swathi, an Infosys employee who was brutally hacked to death at the Nungambakkam train station in Chennai. Again, only last year Madras Christian College (MCC) student Swetha was stabbed and killed at the Tambaram train station. In both cases, the killers were men. In Swetha’s case, she had known the killer Ramachandran for three years. In a chilling resemblance to Sathya’s murder, Ramachandran had also fallen out with Swetha before stabbing her in a fit of rage.

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