The accused in the sensational murder of 24-year-old IT professional Swathi on a railway platform allegedly committed suicide at the Puzhal Central prison here on Sunday, police said.
“He (Ram Kumar) committed suicide and the body is now in Royapettah Government Hospital,” a top police official told PTI on Sunday. Swathi was hacked to death, allegedly by Kumar, an engineering graduate, on June 24 while she was waiting to board a train at a platform of Nungambakkam suburban railway station to her work place on the city outskirts, an incident which was caught on CCTV. When police traced him days later and came to arrest him, he had allegedly attempted to commit suicide.
On how he committed suicide in jail, the official rpt the official said, “It is in the domain of prison authorities…it is said that he had bitten an electric wire in the jail dispensary,” and had died subsequently. Prison authorities declined to speak on Ram Kumar’s death.
Government Royapettah Hospital authorities said Ram Kumar was brought dead, adding that an autopsy will be conducted. Meanwhile, the alleged suicide of Ram Kumar has sparked a controversy with the opposition parties demanding a judicial inquiry.
Leader of Opposition and DMK treasurer MK Stalin reacted to the information that Ram Kumar committed suicide “by biting an electric wire”, saying it was “shocking and mysterious”. Extending his condolences to the kin of Ram Kumar, he said it was “not acceptable and believable” that he committed suicide in a high-security prison. Slamming the prison authorities for being “unable to provide security” to the prisoner, Stalin said the death had led to several doubts.
“I urge for a judicial inquiry into the incident by a High Court judge,” he said. CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan too demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting High Court judge. Recalling that Ram Kumar had attempted suicide even at the time of his arrest, he said, “How can a person commit suicide in a prison? what were the prison authorities doing?”
He said the incident had also led to a doubt regarding “proper security” being provided by the prison administration
to the prisoner. VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan said the Tamil Nadu government should own up responsibility for Ram Kumar’s death and demanded a proper inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, Ramkumar’ father Paramasivam told reporters in Tirunelveli District that he will not accept the body of his son if a high-level probe was not ordered. He alleged “conspiracy”, over the circumstances of the death of his son in prison and wondered how a prisoner inside the jail under the watch of authorities could bite an electric wire and die.
Ram Kumar’s cousin Selvam told reporters in Chennai “for sure, there is doubt about the circumstances surrounding his (Ram Kumar’s) death.”