Rajiv assassination: Nalini’s quest for release faces fresh roadblock

November 10th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 10 (IANS) Nalini Murugan’s quest for release from her life sentence for involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi met a fresh roadblock Monday following a writ petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy.Swamy challenged the constitution of a fresh advisory panel to go into the merits of her plea for release. His plea was admitted by the First Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly and Ibrahim Khalifullah.

On Sep 24, Judge Nagamuthu had upheld Nalini’s contention that the government had mindlessly rejected her demand for release and ordered the reconstitution of another advisory panel to go into her plea. Nalini had claimed the recommendations of the earlier panel, which had rejected her plea for early release, were illegal.

Nalini Murugan alias Sriharan had accompanied the suicide bomber to the election rally where Gandhi was killed in May 1991. She had sought release saying that she had spent more than the mandatory maximum 14 years in jail.

She is presently in the Vellore central prison.

Three other convicts sentenced to death in the same case had appealed for release on the ground that they had waited for years for the hangman - a condition worse than capital punishment. Further, they said they had also completed the life imprisonment period.

Nalini, her husband and former Tamil Tiger guerrilla Murugan and two other rebels were sentenced to death for their role in the killing of Gandhi.

The Madras High Court had upheld Nalini’s plea for clemency on a technicality and on the basis of an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court, which said that both the parents of a child should not be put to death. Her death penalty was commuted to life sentence.

Nalini had delivered a girl Megara (presently studying in Britain) in prison in 1992.

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