There is no provision either in the Tamil Nadu Prison Rules or Government Order to allow Nalini Sriharan and her husband Murugan, both life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to make video calls or even voice calls to their relatives residing in foreign countries, the State government informed the Madras High Court on Thursday.
In his submission, the Director General of Prisons also pointed out that issues involving a foreign country fall within the domain of the Ministry of External Affairs. Hence, neither the Tamil Nadu prison authorities nor the State government can take a unilateral decision on the matter.
He further noted that as the offence committed by the life convicts had international ramifications and given their overseas contracts with banned outfits, three was no guarantee that the convict would use this facility only for personal/family matter.
Besides the bar in rules, before a prisoner was allowed to make such calls, the bonafides of the caller on the other end has to be verified so that the regulations of the department were not jeopardised, he added. “In this case, we cannot verify the genuineness of the caller who will speak from a foreign land and action can’t be taken against them even if they violate any regulations,” the officer submitted.
The petitioner had submitted that after Murugan’s father died on April 27, he was not permitted to see the funeral through video call.