Nalini Sriharan, convicted for life in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, had threatened to commit suicide in the Vellore Women's Prison after an argument with another inmate, an official said on Tuesday.
According to prison officials, a complaint against Nalini had emerged that she was taking the assistance of another prisoner for daily chores, unduly burdening the latter. The officials decided to move the complainant to another cell, which led Nalini to threaten that she would kill herself.
However, Nalini's lawyer P Pugalenthi refuted the version and alleged a cover up by the officials.
"For the last 28-29 years, there was no complaint against Nalini. Reason given by prison officials was not valid. Prison officials say she threatened suicide after an oral complaint was given. I heard from some prison officials that she tried to strangle herself with a cloth and attempted suicide. She is not someone who will do this. She always takes legal recourse," Pugalenthi told News18.
Pugalenthi added that Nalini was, by nature, of a robust mentality. According to him, she must have been subject to torture that contemplated her to take the extreme step. Currently, the convict is being monitored closely.
Seven persons were convicted in the killing of Rajiv Gandhi -- A.G. Perarivalan, V. Sriharan alias Murugan, T. Suthendraraja alais Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini Sriharan, wife of V. Sriharan.
All the convicts are in prison since 1991, the year a woman LTTE suicide bomber blew up herself, killing Rajiv Gandhi on the spot at an election rally near Chennai.
The Tamil Nadu government has passed a resolution for the release of all the convicts, but the Governor is yet to take a decision on the matter.
(With inputs from D Selvan and IANS)