SHRC orders Rs 10 lakh compensation, probe into Swati murder accused Ramkumar's death
The Commission said that considering the evidence of the parties and the prison authorities, there arises a suspicion whether the prisoner committed suicide or some other person electrocuted him.
Published: 31st October 2022 04:52 PM | Last Updated: 31st October 2022 05:22 PM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: Years after the alleged death by suicide of the accused P Ramkumar in the Swati murder case, the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has ordered the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs to Ramkumar’s father Parasivam. He allegedly died of suicide in a prison by biting a live wire in September 2016.
Ramkumar was arrested for the murder of a techie, S Swathi, in June 2016 in broad daylight at the Nugambakkam railway station here.
After suspecting the statement of the prison authorities that Ramkumar died by suicide by biting a live wire at the Puzhal prison premises and holding that the State had miserably failed in its duty to protect a prisoner and thereby violated his human rights, Commission member D Jayachandran ordered the compensation, to be paid within a month to the victim's father Paramasivam, the complainant in this case.
"The State government is also responsible for the death of Ramkumar in the prison and hence it is liable to pay compensation to the father of the deceased," the Commission added and gave the direction.
The Commission has recommended the state government to constitute an independent probe and to check whether Ramkumar had died by suicide as alleged by the prison officials.
The SHRC also recommended that the Tamil Nadu government appoint sufficient prison officials to “ensure the safety and security of the prisoners in their custody.”
Considering the oral and documentary evidence of the parties and the prison authorities, there arises a suspicion in the mind of this Commission that whether the prisoner committed suicide by electrocution due to self-inflicted injuries or some other person electrocuted him, it said.
The final report of an AIIMS doctor stated that Ramkumar died of asphyxia, the Commission pointed out.
According to the prison officials at the Puzhal Central Prison, on September 18, 2016, Ramkumar, who was lodged in a high-security block, had asked a warder who was outside his cell for water. The warder opened the cell and allowed Ramkumar to drink water that was kept in a pot outside the cell. Ramkumar then allegedly pulled a live wire from a nearby switchboard and bit it. The warder pushed him away with his lathi and cut off the power supply. The assistant surgeon at the prison hospital rushed to the spot and provided Ramkumar first aid. Ramkumar was taken to the Government Royapettah Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
The report submitted by the Judicial Magistrate and also the final report of the Investigating Officer (IO) in the criminal case is not at all satisfactory and also not an acceptable one, the SHRC said.
"The authorities, who had examined the witnesses and submitted their report, had not given any valid reason that Ramkumar committed suicide. Therefore, this Commission is of the considered opinion that an independent probe is very much essential to find out whether he committed suicide by pulling and biting into a live electric wire inside the prison, as claimed by the authorities," the SHRC added.
The doctor who conducted the post-mortem, in his report and also in his evidence, categorically stated that Ramkumar died due to electrocution. But he could not say that it was due to self-inflicted injuries.
He, however, admitted that the "injury No.9" should not have been inflicted by the deceased Ramkumar himself, the Commission noted.
"Therefore, the points raised by the petitioner's counsel cannot be totally discarded," the commission said.
Following Ramkumar’s death, his father Paramasivan had expressed concern over the conditions of his death. Based on the SHRC report, he had alleged that the death of his son was “a homicidal one” and that the police and prison officials had violated his son’s human rights.
The SHRC took suo moto cognizance of the case based on a news article from an English daily.
The Commission had also received a fax copy on the matter from Puzhal Central Prison’s Superintendent and a petition from the state president of Devendrakula Vellalar Peravai, Salem.
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(With PTI inputs)