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Unknown women’s bodies at Bengaluru railway stations: Investigation at dead end, police looking at similar cases in other states

In one of the cases reported on January 4 at the Yeshwanthpur railway station in Bengaluru, where the decomposing body of a woman aged around 20 was found in a blue drum abandoned at the end of platform number 1, the police are looking at possible clues from a similar unsolved case reported in April 2022 in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.

On April 9, 2022, the Orvakal police station in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh registered a murder case following the finding of a body of a woman aged around 25 to 35 in a blue drum found abandoned on the side of the National Highway 40.

“One unknown female body aged between 25 to 35 years in highly putrefied condition compressed in a blue colour plastic drum was found at Bandla Kanuma Bridge, near 36 km stone, on the southern side of NH-40 road (Nandyal-Kurnool lane). The deceased’s hands and mouth were tied up with plastic tape,” the Kurnool police reported in April last year.

The woman was killed at some place and the body was dumped in the drum which was packed with cement, bricks, stones, and clay, the Kurnool police said. The body had a tattoo saying “S Raju” in Telugu, a locket on a black thread with inscriptions in Urdu, an anklet, and imitation jewellery items in the form of a chain, nose stud, and pendant.

The Karnataka railway police are looking at the Kurnool case to find possible similarities that could provide clues to the identity of the victim and the alleged killers. “There has been a case in Andhra Pradesh where the body of a woman was found in a similar blue plastic drum. We are in touch with the Andhra Pradesh police,” Superintendent of Police (Railways) in Karnataka S K Sowmyalatha said.

The investigations in the finding of the bodies of two women at the Yeshwanthpur railway station on January 4, 2023, and the Byappanahalli railway station on December 6, 2022 — wrapped in a light yellow plastic bag and kept under the seat in a train that arrived from Bangarpet — are yet to make headway with the bodies remaining unidentified. Both incidents have been registered as murder with the cause of death now identified in both cases as strangulation.

The railway police have obtained little or no clues from the limited CCTV footage available at the railway stations where the bodies were found, police sources said. “In the Yeshwanthpur case, there is footage of two men carrying a drum and leaving it on the platform after the arrival of a long-distance train at the station. The footage is very unclear,” police sources said.

The blue drum found on the morning of January 4 at the Yeshwanthpur railway station was found packed with the clothing of a woman at the top and sealed – with the body lying below the clothing. The blue drum with a black lid is commonly used at construction sites and for storage and is known to be carried by workers travelling long-distance on trains.

The sub-inspector at the Orvakal police station in Kurnool, N C Mallikarjuna, who is part of the teams investigating the April 2022 discovery of the body of a woman in the Kurnool district said the case in Kurnool had remained unsolved.

“We have seen the pictures from the Bengaluru case. There are differences in the way the body that was found in Kurnool was packed in the drum with cement and other material from the way the body was packed with clothes in Bengaluru,” the police official said.

In one other case in Andhra Pradesh from December 2022, the Visakhapatnam police found the body of a woman in a drum in a house that had been abandoned in May 2021 by the person who rented the house. The police investigations in the case resulted in the arrest of the person who had rented the house and was identified as P Rishivardhan and the victim was a sex worker.

“The accused in the Vishakapatnam case was arrested and was remanded to judicial custody. He is in jail,” Visakhapatnam assistant commissioner of police (north) Srinivasa Rao said.

In the Bengaluru case at the Yeshwanthpur railway station, police are of the view that the body was transported on a long-distance train and the station was only used for dumping. Police sources said that dumping of bodies on railway platforms is a rare occurrence.

In the second case in Bengaluru from December 6, 2022, the police have so far found no clues from scouring available CCTV footage from stations in the path of the passenger train on which the body was found. “The train was a passenger train and the body could have been loaded at any place. There is no CCTV footage at stations on the line,” police sources said.

The dead body of a young woman, which was bundled up in blankets and stuffed in multiple plastic sheets – to pass off as luggage, was found stuffed under a seat in a compartment of the Bangarpet-SMVT Bengaluru Express MEMU Special (06527) on the night of December 6.

The body bundled in the guise of luggage was found by an air conditioning mechanic who travelled on the train from Bangarpet to the Sir M Visvesvaraya Terminal at Bengaluru when the train arrived at the SMVT station and all passengers had deboarded.

According to a complaint filed by the railway A/C technician Santhosh Kumar, he noticed a large yellow package that was stuffed under his seat soon after he boarded the train at the Coromandel Station in Kolar at 8.40 pm on December 6. The technician said he assumed that the package belonged to a passenger.

However, when the train arrived at Bengaluru at 11 pm the package remained unclaimed under the seat. Finding no passengers remaining on the train, the A/C technician and a colleague informed railway authorities and the railway police about the unclaimed package.

The railway authorities and police took the package off the train and opened it up to find that the dead body of a woman who was around 35 years of age had been wrapped in three to four layers of blanket and an equal number of plastic sheets to camouflage the contents of the package that was placed on the train.

The plastic packaging for the body in the Byappanahalli case is typically used by flower and fruit sellers but is also quite commonly used and has provided no leads, the police said. They are now scanning other technical data related to the currently unconnected crimes in the hope of finding a lead that facilitates the cracking of the two unsolved cases in Bengaluru.

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