Court reserves orders on early release of Nalini(Lead)

July 11th, 2008 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Chennai, July 11 (IANS) The Madras High Court Friday reserved its orders on the early release plea of Nalini, who is serving a life sentence for her involvement in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Advocate General G. Masilamani told the court that the government needed time to file a detailed counter affidavit to explain its stand and that it opposed Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s petition seeking to implead himself in the case opposing her release.

Judge S. Nagamuthu reserved his orders on the matter.

Appearing for Nalini, her counsel S. Doraiswamy also opposed Swamy’s intervention in the matter saying he had no locus standi.

The Supreme Court confirmed Nalini’s death penalty in 2000.

Her sentence was commuted to life sentence following a representation from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a recommendation from the Tamil Nadu government on humanitarian grounds.

Doraiswamy cited procedural improprieties in the rejection of her early release and filed a petition in the high court in May.

Nalini’s daughter, who lives in London with her uncles, has sought Indian citizenship on the basis of her mother’s origin.

Nalini’s husband Sriharan alias Murugan, also sentenced to death, has appealed for clemency.

Gandhi was blown up at an election rally near Chennai May 21, 1991 by a woman suicide bomber who Indian authorities said was from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE has denied killing Gandhi.

Nalini accompanied the suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, to the election meeting and saw Gandhi die. Murugan, who she married in jail, was an operative of the LTTE intelligence wing.

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