Tamil Nadu again opposes Nalini’s release

September 18th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiChennai, Sep 18 (IANS) The possibility of Nalini Murugan, a key accused in the assassination of former premier Rajiv Gandhi, Thursday diminished following the Tamil Nadu government’s stiff opposition to her plea to free her.Advocate General G. Masilamani told Madras High Court judge S. Nagamuthu that no prisoner had the right to contest the state government’s decision to keep her in prison.

“The executive power of the state government cannot be questioned at any point in time in matters concerning premature release of prisoners under the general amnesty scheme,” Masilamani told the court.

“It is the prerogative of the state government to consult the central government in the matter regardless of the fact that a particular prisoner has been convicted under the laws laid down by the central government.

Compelling the local government to do so and release a prisoner is not permissible,” Masilamani added.

Nalini has approached the court claiming she had spent three years more than the maximum period of 14 years prescribed for a life sentence and so should be released immediately.

Nalini was accused of conspiring with a group of Sri Lankan Tamils linked to the Tamil Tigers in the May 1991 assassination of Gandhi.

The death sentence awarded to her was commuted to life following a ruling of the Madras High Court, which intervened on the basis of a technicality.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also recommended the same on humanitarian grounds since Nalini and Murugan alias Sriharan, a former Tamil Tiger, had married and were parents of a girl. Both were sentenced to death in the Gandhi case.

The Supreme Court has ruled that both parents of a child cannot be awarded the death penalty together.

Murugan has also filed an appeal for commutation claiming that waiting for the hangman for over seven years is a punishment worse than death.

The Tamil Nadu government had ordered the release of 1,405 life convicts three days ago on humanitarian grounds.

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