Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: TN to send reminder to Governor on lifers' release


When the petition came up, the prosecutor told the court that similar pleas were pending which were moved by Nalini and Murugan seeking direction to the governor's office to take immediate steps to release all seven life convicts, as per the advice of the state government dated September 9, 2018.

The prosecutor urged the court to post the present plea along with the others.

Recording the same, a division bench of Justice M M Sundresh and Justice M Nirmal Kumar adjourned the plea to July 30 for further hearing.

The Madras High Court recently granted permission to Nalini Sriharan, serving life sentence in the case, to appear in person on July 5 to argue her plea for six months' ordinary leave to make arrangements for her daughter's wedding.

Nalini, who has been in prison for over 27 years, wanted the court to direct the Superintendent of Police, Special Prison for Women in Vellore, to produce her before the court so that she could argue her case for leave as party-in-person.

Nalini was initially sentenced to death for her involvement in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. However, her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Tamil Nadu government on April 24, 2000.

She claimed that after commutation of her death sentence, around 3,700 life convicts who had served 10 years of imprisonment and less were released by the Tamil Nadu government.

"My request to the state for premature release under the 1994 scheme of premature release of life convicts was cleared by the council of ministers and on September 9, 2018, the council advised the governor to release me and other six life convicts in the case.

"But it has been over six months and the decision of the state is still yet to be implemented," she had submitted.

The AIADMK government had adopted a resolution recommending Governor Banwarilal Purohit the release of seven lifers -- Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran, Robert Payas and Nalini.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami had said his government was committed to the release of the convicts and expressed hope that the governor would act on the cabinet recommendation for setting them free.

His statement came amid renewed calls, both from the opposition and Tamil groups, for the release of the convicts, after the Supreme Court disposed of a plea against freeing them which was filed by the relatives of those killed along with Rajiv Gandhi.

Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumpudur near here on May 21, 1991.