Rajiv Gandhi murder accused moves Madras HC to meet mom
Chennai: Life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Murugan alias Sriharan, thought nothing of breaking law and hiding two mobile phones in his prison cell but when he was caught and his visitor interviews got suspended for three months as punishment, has now rushed to the Madras high court seeking help.
Jail authorities announced on March 26 the seizure of two mobile phones from Murugan's cell in the Vellore Central Prison-where he has been lodged for about 26 years now-and said they were found hidden behind a photograph. As punishment for violating the prison manual, his fortnightly meetings with wife Nalini, also a lifer in the Rajiv case and lodged in the nearby women's prison, were suspended for three months. He was also told he cannot receive any visitors during this ban period.
Against this, Murugan has moved the high court saying his aged mother had come from Sri Lanka on April 2 and was unable to meet him despite several requests to the jail officials to permit her to see him at least for half an hour.
When his petition came up before the vacation bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice M Govindaraj on Wednesday, counsel M Radhakrishnan said Murugan's mother had gone to the Vellore prison on April 11 and 18 but was not allowed to see him.
Murugan's petition for relaxation of the punishment and also a representation from his mother for permission to see him was forwarded by the jail superintendent to the additional director general of police (prisons) but there was no response, the counsel told the court. He said the punishment violated the fundamental rights of Murugan and his mother, and requested that the two may be allowed to meet on any day from May 22 to May 27.
From the government side, it was explained that the punishment was justified as Murugan had violated the prison rules and the action against him was well in accordance with the prison manual, which clearly prohibited interviews to inmates committing offences. Recording the statements, the court adjourned the matter after summer vacation, which would mean no immediate relief to Murugan.