Voluntary group to press for Nalini’s release: lawyer

October 3rd, 2008 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Vellore (Tamil Nadu), Oct 3 (IANS) Nalini Murugan, sentenced to death for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, has given the go-ahead for the formation of a voluntary group to press for her premature release, her lawyer S. Doraiswamy said Friday.”We met Nalini to explain several aspects of the Madras High Court’s decision while disposing of her petition. We also obtained her nod for getting a group of political activists and concerned citizens to work for her freedom,” Doraiswamy told reporters after an hour-long meeting with his client.

“Nalini is being denied freedom by the Tamil Nadu government only due to political reasons as her alleged victim was (former prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi,” Doraiswamy added.

The association, to be called Rehabilitation of Life Convicts (RLC), may include former Central Bureau of Investigation director D.R. Karthikeyan, Congress leader T. Manian and senior communist leader R. Nallakkannu, sources said.

Interestingly, Karthikeyan had headed the Special Investigation Team that probed the brutal murder of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and was said to be instrumental in nabbing Nalini.

The Madras High Court quashed the recommendations of the prison advisory panel rejecting her demand for premature freedom and ordered the constitution of a fresh board.

The court, however, rejected Nalini’s plea, saying only the state government could take a decision in the matter.

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

Nalini had assisted woman suicide bomber Dhanu, who killed Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur on the outskirts of Chennai. Nalini’s capital punishment was converted to a life sentence by the Madras High Court after she challenged the rejection of her plea by the then state governor Fatima Beevi on technical grounds.

An earlier ruling of the Supreme Court prohibiting the hanging of both the husband and wife also was instrumental in the commutation of Nalini’s sentence. Nalini had given birth to a daughter during her trial.

The daughter, Megara is presently in Britain pursuing higher education.

Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra met Nalini in the high security prison here in March.

Nalini and her husband were charged with collaborating with the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - accused of murdering Gandhi and former Sri Lankan president R. Premadasa among several VIPs. The LTTE has denied the charges.

The LTTE has been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka since 1983. Over 70,000 people have died in the civil war.

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