Australia launches probe into Prabha Arun Kumar’s stabbing, assures all help
Australia on Monday assured India that the fatal attack on Prabha Arun Kumar in a Sydney suburb is being probed by the police with utmost seriousness and that a special detective squad was formed to pursue the investigations.
Describing the attack on 41-year-old Kumar as a “sad event”, the ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said New South Wales premier Mike Baird spoke with Sanjay Sudhir, consul general of India in Sydney, over the phone to convey his assurance.
Akbaruddin told reporters that Sudhir, the victim’s husband Arun Kumar, and a representative of her employer Mindtree had a meeting with the NSW police during which they were informed that a special detective squad was being formed to probe the attack.
Her husband flew in to Sydney from Bengaluru to formally identify her body.
Asked whether the attack had a racist angle, the spokesperson said one should wait for the outcome of police investigations.
“One should not impute motive. Police are probing the matter. Let us wait for the outcome,” he said.
Akbaruddin said foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is herself monitoring the situation.
Swaraj had tweeted earlier that she is in constant touch with India’s consulate in Sydney.
“I am pained to know abt murder of Prabha Arun Kumar in Sydney. Our Consulate is in touch with her Company there and we promise all help,” she posted on Twitter.
NSW police launched a probe following the stabbing of Kumar, who was on the phone with her husband in India, when the “horrific” attack happened on Saturday in Westmead, a suburb of Sydney.
They also released the CCTV footage of the IT consultant walking from a train station just before she was fatally stabbed and appealed to people for information to crack the case.
“We are releasing (the CCTV tapes) in an effort to jog people’s memories – someone who may have seen Prabha, somebody who may know Prahba – coming forward and providing us with the information that we need to work out why this has happened to her and who is responsible for it,” homicide squad commander Michael Willing was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
Detective superintendent Willing said the footage did not appear to show anyone following the victim as she made her way home.
He said her husband talked with detectives about the conversation before she was killed.
“We have some detail in terms of their conversation,” he said.
Police said the emergency services responded to reports of a seriously injured woman on a public walkway between Argyle Street, Parramatta, and Amos Street, Westmead, at around 9:30pm (local time) on Saturday.
Ambulance Paramedics treated the woman at the scene before transporting her to Westmead Hospital, where she died at about 12:45am on Sunday.
Confirming her identity, the police statement said, it was believed that Kumar got off a train at Parramatta Railway Station about 9pm, before walking along Argyle Street and turning left onto the walkway. Police believe she was attacked while on the walkway.
She sustained a number of injuries, which it is believed were inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon.
Strike Force Marcoala has been formed to investigate the death. It comprises police from Parramatta Local Area Command and State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad.
Kumar, a mother of a 9-year-old daughter, was attacked just 300 metres from her home and was talking to her husband when the attack took place as she took a shortcut through Westmead’s Parramatta Park, Sydney’s western suburb, around 9.30pm on Saturday night. She had finished working a double shift.
“He stabbed me, darling,” she told husband, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph reported.
Kumar’s relative, Thrijesh Jayachandra, told The Hindu that she had told her husband that a man was following her.
“She was walking while talking to Arun on the phone when she said that a suspicious-looking man was following her,” Jayachandra was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
“The next moment, he heard her scream for help and then plead with the man not to harm [her] and take all her belongings if he wanted. Seconds later, he heard her scream and say she was stabbed,” he said.
Kumar, was set to return home next month after her working visa expired, after being sent to Sydney in 2012 to work for IT and outsourcing company Mindtree.
The company is based at The Rocks but Kumar had been working with a client at Rhodes when she caught the train home on Saturday, getting off at Parramatta Station.