The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday recommended the Tamil Nadu government to pay a compensation of ₹10 lakh to the father of P. Ramkumar, the accused in the techie Swathi’s murder case, who reportedly died by suicide in Puzhal prison in September 2016. It said the compensation is to be paid to the deceased’s father R. Paramasivan within one month.
The SHRC also recommended that the State government constitutes an independent probe to find out whether Ramkumar allegedly committed suicide by pulling and biting into a live electric wire inside Puzhal prison as claimed by the respondents or if it was homicidal injury, as alleged by the complainant, Mr. Paramasivan.
It further recommended that the State government post adequate prison officials to ensure the safety and security of prisoners in their custody.
The Commission had taken suo motu cognisance of the report published in The Hindu over the incident, a message sent by the Superintendent of Prisons, Central Prison-II, Puzhal, Chennai and another petition received in this regard.
After considering the oral and documentary evidence of the parties and the documents produced by the Investigation Wing and witnesses, the Commission said: “Suspicion arises in the minds of this Commission whether the prisoner Ramkumar committed suicide by electrocution due to self inflicted joule injuries or some other person electrocuted the body of the deceased or the reason stated in the final report by the AIIMS Doctor Dr. Sudhir Gupta that the deceased died due to asphyxia.”
Though the postmortem certificate categorically stated that Ramkumar died due to electrocution, it cannot say that it was due to self inflicted joule injuries and particularly, he admitted that the injury No.9 could not be inflicted by the deceased Ramkumar himself, the Commission pointed out.
“The prisoner was in the care and custody of the State. Therefore, it was the bounden duty of the prison officials to ensure safety and security of the prisoner in their custody and to ensure that he does not cause any harm to himself or anybody else,” the Commission observed.
The Commission said that it was for the prison authorities to protect and promote the human rights of the prisoner and further said it was not satisfied with the report submitted by the Commission’s Investigation Wing as well as the report submitted by the Judicial Magistrate and also the final report of the Investigating Officer in the criminal case.
“The authorities, who had examined the witnesses and submitted their report, had not given any valid reason that Ramkumar committed suicide,” it said.
Hence, the Commission was of the considered opinion that an independent probe is “very much essential” to find out whether the said Ramkumar allegedly committed suicide by pulling and biting into a live electric wire inside the Puzhal prison as claimed by the respondents.
“As already discussed, the Government of Tamil Nadu is also responsible for the death of Ramkumar in Puzhal Prison and hence the State is liable to pay compensation to the father of the deceased namely Paramasivan for the suspicions death of his son in the Puzhal Prison.”
P. Ramkumar was the lone suspect in the murder of techie Swathi at the Nungambakkam railway station in September 2016. He was arrested and remanded in Puzhal prison where is allegedly committed suicide.
(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104, Tele-MANAS 14416 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050)