India / Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict, in jail for 29 yrs, attempts suicide: Lawyer

The News Minute : Jul 21, 2020, 03:16 PM
Chennai: Nalini Sriharan, the convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, attempted suicide at the Vellore jail, her lawyer told TNM. Nalini has been lodged for the past 29 years at the Vellore women's prison. 

Speaking to TNM, Nalini’s counsel advocate Pugazhendhi alleges that prison authorities are attempting to cover up the real cause behind her attempt to take her own life. He further adds that the reason they have offered is far from believable. 

“When jail authorities contacted me they said that Nalini had had a disagreement with another inmate, who then went and complained to the jailer about her. Then at around 8.30 pm, after lock-up and enquiry was conducted. She was apparently upset by the quarrel which followed and attempted suicide,” says the lawyer. “But such quarrels between inmates are very common and it is hard to believe that this could be behind her decision. There needs to be more clarity and investigation behind this,” he adds. 

According to the advocate, Nalini last met him and family members before the pandemic led to lockdown in March and seemed to be in good spirits. 

Jail authorities are yet to respond on the incident. 

Earlier in March, the Madras High Court had dismissed Nalini’s plea seeking that she be released from jail since she was being “illegally detained” by the police.

Nalini had cited the Tamil Nadu government’s resolution in September 2018 wherein it had recommended the Governor to release all seven convicts in the case. She had stated in her petition that recommendation was still. with the Governor, which meant she was being illegally confined by the police and hence she must be produced before a court and released.

Besides Nalini, six others, including her husband Murugan, a Sri Lankan national, are serving life imprisonment in the case related to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumpudur near here on May 21, 1991.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional suppport to individuals and families.   

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584


Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222


Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.


State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 amd and 7 pm)

Aasara offers support to inidviduals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those  undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.    

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726 

Click here for working helplines across India.