Chennai: Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Nalini Sriharan has moved the Supreme Court seeking premature release from jail. Earlier, Sriharan had also appealed for release before the Madras High Court two months ago, which was rejected.
Sriharan was arrested on June 14, 1991, for his involvement in the assassination of the former Prime Minister of India. According to the information, she is the longest-serving female prisoner behind bars.
Significantly, along with 25 others, he was sentenced to death by a designated TADA court in Chennai on January 28, 1998. A year later, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of Nalini, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, commuted the death sentences of three others to life imprisonment and freed 19 accused.
After accepting the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the then CM M Karunanidhi, the Governor of Tamil Nadu commuted Nalini’s death sentence to life imprisonment on April 24, 2000. She challenged the Madras High Court on 17 June, which rejected her plea for early release.
A division bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N Mala observed that the High Court does not have special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution and thus, cannot grant him release.
Rajiv Gandhi assassination
On May 21, 1991, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in an LTTE suicide attack in Sriparibudur, Tamil Nadu, when he was on his way to the stage to address an election rally for the Lok Sabha elections.
Besides Nalini, her husbands Murugan, T Suthendraraja, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and P Ravichandran are serving life sentences. In a major development on May 18, the apex court ordered Perarivalan’s release, citing an unforgivable delay by the Tamil Nadu governor in exercising his power under Article 161 of the Constitution, which would allow him to pardon a convict. or empowers to reduce the punishment.