Friday, June 6, 2008

Mystery shrouds Tamilian’s death in Singapore prison

Wednesday June 4 2008 12:44 IST

S Irshad Ahmed,

THANJAVUR: The hapless parents of Katturaja (32) of Nemmeli North in Orathanadu taluk are crying foul over the “mysterious" death of their son in a Singapore prison.

According to sources, Katturaja, son of R Govindaraju, went to Singapore at the age of 21, through a travel agent on a tourist visa but overstayed there for 11 years as he could not get any job there.

Katturaja was arrested by Singapore police just three months ago on the charge of “overstay without valid permit in the country” and was lodged in prison.

An inmate of the prison, hailing from Movur village in Thanjavur district who rang up to Govindaraju, informed him of the shocking news that Katturaja died in prison on May 22. When Govindaraju contacted the Indian Embassy in Singapore, the officials also confirmed the information.

However, there was no proper communication sent to the parents either by the Singapore Government or the Indian Embassy in Singapore about the death of Katturaja, triggering suspicion.

“Despite having our proper postal address, the prison authorities have not bothered to keep us informed about his death. There has been no proper communication either by the prison authorities or the embassy. We came to learn about his death only through the call made by one of the inmates”, Govindaraju told this website's newspaper.

Govindaraju also expressed apprehension that his son might have been murdered in the prison. “My son, who spoke to me over phone three months ago, never complained of ill-health even once. So, it gives room for suspicion that he might have been murdered”, Govindaraju added.

Katturaja’s parents Govindaraju and Prabavathi, accompanied by his three sisters, Kalpana, Kalairani and Karpagam, who gave a representation to the district administration on Tuesday, demanded that arrangements be made for bringing his body to his native place to enable them to have a last glimpse on the body.

When contacted, Collector’s PA (General) D P Raju said Govindaraju’s representation would be sent to the government and steps would be taken to bring the body.

Related news: Vaiko writes to PM for retrieving body from Singapore