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Bengaluru: A year later, police still look for leads on decomposed bodies of 2 women found in railway stations

In the Baiyappanahalli case, the deceased was smothered and her body was stuffed inside the drum kept inside the train. The woman in the Yeshwantpur case was strangled and her mortal remains were disposed of similarly.
Last Updated 03 March 2024, 21:10 IST

Bengaluru: Lakhs of phone call records, thousands of CCTV cameras, hundreds of jewellers, and scores of fishermen... The Bengaluru railway police dedicated months to examining these and more over the past year in their quest to identify two women whose highly decomposed bodies were found in drums at two train stations in the city. However, despite their painstaking efforts, the investigation did not yield even a glimmer of hope.

The first body was found in December 2022 at the old Baiyappanahalli railway station in the east of the city, stuffed in a gunny bag in one of the compartments of the Bangarpet-SMVT Bengaluru Express. The next month, another body was found inside a blue barrel on platform number 1 at the Yeshwantpur railway station. CCTV footage helped the police determine that the drum had arrived on a train from near Mahabalipuram and was later kept on the platform by the cleaning staff. 

The barrel remained unattended near the railway track for almost a week. Railway staff presumed someone had left it behind and would pick it up later. No one checked it because fish from Mahabalipuram and the surroundings were usually transported on that train. 

The striking similarities between the two cases got the police thinking. The deceased women were between 25 and 35 years old. In the Baiyappanahalli case, the deceased was smothered and her body was stuffed inside the drum kept inside the train. The woman in the Yeshwantpur case was strangled and her mortal remains were disposed of similarly. 

The murder was so meticulously planned in the Baiyappanahalli case that police could not find even a single lead. 

In the Yeshwantpur case, the only clue of sorts — a toe ring found inside the drum — fizzled out after an extensive search operation in Mahabalipuram. 

Police investigators showed the ring to hundreds of jewellers in and around Mahabalipuram, hoping to trace the buyer of the toe ring, but the search yielded nothing. “There was no evidence whatsoever,” Dr Sowmyalatha S K, Superintendent of Police (Railways), told DH. “Nobody recognised it.” 

That’s not all. Cops went from door to door in the fishermen’s colony on the coastline, asking every inhabitant if they knew about any missing woman but drew a blank. 

In both cases, police scoured over two lakh Call Detail Records (CDR) hoping to find a clue but there was none. The footage of thousands of CCTV cameras installed along the trains’ routes also drew a blank. 

“We zeroed in on regular commuters on the two trains and asked if they had noticed any suspicious activities or people. There was just no headway,” another senior railway police officer said. 

Railway police personnel even personally visited all highways around the railway stations covered by the two trains and enquired with shopkeepers if they noticed anything suspicious but there was no luck. 

Even trips to gram panchayats and police stations across the railway stations to check for missing persons complaints turned up no leads that matched the details of the two murders.

Police now believe that the cases involved two different perpetrators, given that the bodies arrived on different trains.

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(Published 03 March 2024, 21:10 IST)

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