The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed prison officials to produce the entire medical report of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case life convict Murugan after his niece claimed that he is observing fast unto death in prison and sought the court’s intervention to save him. Justice Selvam, heading a division bench also comprising Justice Pon. Kalaiyarasan, gave the direction when the habeas corpus petition by Murugan’s niece Thenmozhi came up for hearing.
Justice Selvam asked the Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) why permission has been refused to visitors to meet the convict, to which the APP submitted that as per the prison manual, if any inmate goes on a fast, no one is allowed to meet him and all facilities made available to him are cut.
The judge then sought to know about the food given to Murugan as also the treatment, to which the APP replied that he had been given necessary medical treatment and also subjected to periodical check ups.
The bench after directing the prison authorities to file the medical report, adjourned the matter to August 31.
Murugan has reportedly been observing ‘jeeva samadhi’, a ritual of fast unto death, in the central prison at Vellore since August 18, his niece has claimed.
In her August 24 plea, Thenmozhi had claimed her uncle was determined to attain ‘jeeva samadhi’ in the prison and sought the court’s intervention to save him.
She had also sought permission to meet him.
Citing various news reports about Murugan’s fast, she had said that it was the duty of the prison authorities to save his life.
She said Murugan was in the prison for the last 26 years.
The officials had rejected her August 22 representation to meet Murugan, she said and claimed that even his wife Nalini, a co-convict in the case, was also not allowed to meet him.
Murugan, an LTTE cadre, was initially sentenced to death along with five others in the case related to assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber at nearby Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
The Supreme Court had in 2014 commuted his sentence and of two others to life imprisonment citing the delay in deciding their mercy plea.
Nalini is also serving a life term after her death sentence was commuted by the state government.