P. Ramkumar, the lone suspect in the sensational murder of Infosys techie Swathi at the Nungambakkam railway station, allegedly committed suicide by “pulling and biting into a live electric wire” inside the Puzhal Central Prison here on Sunday evening, prison officials claimed.
Incidentally, in July, the Chennai police had claimed that Ramkumar had slit his throat when they had gone to his house in Tirunelveli to arrest him.
Alleging foul play in his death, several politicians including Leader of Opposition M.K. Stalin, demanded an independent probe into it. Protesting the denial of permission to see his body at the Government Royapettah Hospital mortuary, Ramkumar’s relatives, advocates and cadres of some outfits blocked the road bringing traffic to a halt late in the evening.
According to a prison official, around 4.30 p.m., a jail warder heard an unusual sound and rushed to find Ramkumar lying unconscious with a live electric wire in his mouth near the dispensary block. It is “presumed” that he pulled out the live wire from a switchboard and bit it.
After switching off the main power, the warder, with the assistance of others, rushed Ramkumar to the prison hospital where first-aid was administered. Since his pulse was deteriorating, doctors referred him to the Government Royapettah Hospital where Ramkumar was declared “dead on arrival”.
“Since Ramkumar had already attempted suicide, he was given several rounds of counselling by professionals in the prison. We kept a close watch on his activities. He did not show any signs of depression or suicidal tendencies,” a senior prison official told The Hindu.
DGP T.K. Rajendran said a magisterial inquiry would be ordered as is done in all cases of custodial deaths. Parrying questions on the allegations of foul play, he said the magisterial probe would address those issues.
Expressing shock over the alleged suicide of Ramkumar, who was detained and lodged in Puzhal prison in Chennai, his father Paramasivam on Sunday evening said it was ‘unbelievable’.
Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Paramasivam wondered about the circumstances of his detained son’s death in the prison, where he said safety is at peril. He alleged that it was a carefully planned murder and levelled charges of conspiracy by the prison authorities.
Ramkumar’s lawyers were about to move the court for his bail plea on September 19. A phone call from the prison around 4.40 p.m. said Ram Kumar was being taken to a hospital after he suffered stomach disorder. A few minutes later, another caller said Ramkumar was dead. “He was healthy when I met him last in the prison on August 11”, the father said.