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Durban - The Indian national charged with the murder of a Singaporean student in Australia is a “ghost” in the KwaZulu-Natal he claimed he had been living in.
Senthill Kumar Arumugam is recovering at a Brisbane hospital from multiple self-inflicted stab wounds.
He will appear in court on April 5, for the murder of Meena Narayanan, 27. Narayanan, a student at the Queensland University of Technology, was found dead at a Travelodge hotel room a week ago.
She had been stabbed multiple times. Arumugam was found lying next to her body. He suffered stab wounds to his arms and stomach in an alleged suicide attempt.
Spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Nelson Kgwete, said last night that Arumugam was an Indian citizen who had worked in South Africa.
According to Australian police, Arumugam had told them he had worked as an engineer in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, for the past year and lived in Rider Haggard Avenue.
The Daily News contacted the only two engineering firms in Newcastle and several residents of Rider Hag gard Avenue. But no-one had any knowledge of the Indian national.
One neighbour said: “Newcastle is a small town. If there was a foreigner living here, everyone would know about it. Either he’s really good at keeping a low profile or he’s a ghost.”
The Brisbane Times reported that Narayanan and Arumugam were due to have an arranged marriage.
Arumugam had flown to Australia from South Africa to meet Narayanan.
However, Narayanan’s brother, Letchumanan Narayanan, has dismissed the newspaper’s claims.
Letchumanan was quoted in Channel NewsAsia on Monday as saying his sister had been through an arranged marriage before and it did not last.
She then decided to focus on her studies and moved to Australia two years ago to complete a masters degree in finance, he said.
She had been introduced to Arumugam through a family contact in November while on her term break in Singapore. They continued to stay in touch even after she had returned to Brisbane.
A few weeks ago, Arumugam told Narayanan that he wanted to meet her in Australia, and arranged to visit her.
Letchumanan said Narayanan had informed the family that Arumugam had expressed “strong feelings” for her and wanted her to reciprocate with a commitment.
However, she said she was not ready to do this. The family last spoke to Narayanan on March 23 via Skype.
Letchumanan said the family could not reach her last Monday night and heard the news of her death on Tuesday morning when they were contacted by Brisbane police.