Sriharan Nalini, serving life sentence over former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, made several telephone calls within and outside India from a mobile seized from her, the Tamil Nadu government said Friday.
Law Minister Durai Murugan told the state assembly: "On examining the seized phone it was found it had recorded 10 missed, eight received and 18 outgoing calls and several SMSes."
He said eight calls were made to England and one to Sri Lanka.
In addition, many calls were made to various places in Tamil Nadu using the phone whose connection was issued in the name of Ravi of Kadpadi.
Durai Murugan said the phone was activated March 13 last year. The Tamil Nadu Police Q branch, which looks after anti-insurgency activities, is probing the discovery.
The minister said that when officials at the Vellore women’s prison conducted a routine check April 20, Nalini hurriedly threw away a bag that was found to have the mobile phone.
When an officer started to examine the instrument, Nalini snatched it from him and flung it into a bucket of water and quickly emptied it into a toilet.
But the officials retrieved the phone from the toilet.
Nalini is expected to face disciplinary action following the seizure because the possession of a mobile phone by a convict is a criminal offence.
She could be shifted from the Vellore prison to another jail and her prisoner status could be downgraded from 'A' class to 'B' class.
"We haven't got any report on the issue. Only after the receipt of the report we can take appropriate action," K R Shyamsundar, the Assistant Director General of Police and Inspector General of Prisons, told IANS.
But the prison authorities could not seize the battery charger.
The latest development is a setback to Nalini, who approached the Madras High Court against the Tamil Nadu government's decision to reject her appeal for release before her life term ends.
The government based its decision to reject Nalini's appeal on the findings of the Prison Advisory Board headed by the Vellore district collector.
The board had listed eight counts not to free Nalini, including her reported refusal to apologise for Gandhi's murder in May 1991.
A woman suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) detonated explosives strapped to herself while pretending to touch Gandhi's feet at an election rally near here May 21, 1991.
Nalini was part of the team of conspirators that witnessed Gandhi getting blown up. The LTTE apparently wanted to avenge Gandhi's decision to deploy the Indian Army in Sri Lanka's northeast in 1987.
Originally, Nalini was convicted on 16 counts of murder and given death penalty. On the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi's widow and now Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
In September last year, Nalini filed a petition that she was entitled for release in 2005 itself as she had completed 14 years in jail.