Rajiv Gandhi murder convicts seek permission to speak to relative in Sri Lanka

Saturday, 16 May 2020

The Madras High Court has sought a response of the Tamil Nadu State government and Vellore Central Prison officials to a plea to allow former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts S. Nalini and her husband Murugan alias Sriharan to talk to the latter’s mother and sister over WhatsApp video call for about 10 minutes daily, The Hindu newspaper reported.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and R. Hemalatha directed the officials to respond within a week. The direction was issued on a petition filed by Nalini’s mother S. Padma, 80, residing at Royapettah in Chennai. In an affidavit, filed through her counsel P. Pugalenthi, the petitioner said that her daughter and son-in-law had been languishing in prison for last 28 years.

On April 27 this year, Murugan’s father died in Sri Lanka. Then, his request to watch the final rites through WhatsApp video call was rejected by the State government. The very next day, the petitioner’s daughter spoke to her on phone and asked her to make arrangements for the couple to talk to Murugan’s mother Somani Ammal in Sri Lanka, The Hindu reported.

Nalini wanted to make a plea for talking to Murugan’s elder sister Raji residing in London so that the couple could console the family members and offer condolence. “As requested, I made a representation to the respondents herein on May 4 for such permission. No action has been taken so far on my representation. Hence, this Habeas Corpus petition,” the litigant said.

After providing the phone numbers of Murugan’s mother as well as sister, the litigant sought for a direction to the government officials to permit the convicts to talk to them on WhatsApp video call for 10 minutes a day.