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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2057

Rajiv case convict Nalini's parole rejected: TN govt objected

Chennai, 16 November, (Asiantribune.com):

The Tamil Nadu government today opposed in the Madras High Court the plea of Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking six months parole, saying she was not eligible for the relief.

In its submission before the Madras High Court, the state government has objected to Nalini’s parole on the grounds that it will have “international ramifications” and she may escape from lawful custody.

The state argued that Nalini has been convicted for a case that can be classified as the 'rarest of the rare', as it involved her 'doing away the life' of a former Prime Minister of India. It further claimed that commuting the penalty from death to a life sentence does not reduce the gravity of the crime she has committed.

“In view of the gravity of offence committed by the petitioner, having international ramification, the respondents can reasonably apprehend that the petitioner, if released on leave may escape from the lawful custody. Hence it is humbly prayed that the request of the petitioner deserves no merit and therefore it is prayed that his Hon'ble court may be pleased to dismiss the above writ petition as devoid of merits and thus render justice,” reads the state government's reply to the court.

Speaking to TNM, Nalini’s counsel Radhakrishnan argued that the reasons given by the Tamil Nadu government are “not right”.

He pointed out that AG Perarivalan, who was also convicted along with Nalini and five others in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, was granted parole recently for two months owing to his father’s illness.

“Perarivalan was given parole for two months. His offence is the same as Nalini. All of these seven people (convicted in the case) are conspirators. They didn’t commit the offence,” argues Radhakrishnan, adding, “By rejecting her parole, the Tamil Nadu government has violated Articles 14 (equality before the law) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.”

Radhakrishnan said that all life convicts are entitled to “ordinary leave” and that they cannot be treated differently.

Nalini’s counsel also pointed out that she was eligible for release as early as 2005, after spending 14 years in jail. However, he noted that she was not released at the time as the offence was investigated by the CBI, a central agency.

In February 2014, then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had stated that the state would release all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case.

“Whether the Centre responds to our recommendation or not, we will invoke the powers vested with the government and release them,” Jayalalithaa had said in 2014.

Although the Centre later blocked the move, Radhakrishnan pointed to the inconsistency of the present state regime, noting, “When a person is found fit to be released permanently can she be denied leave? It is unfair on the part of the government that Nalini should not be given parole.”

In March 2016, Nalini, who is lodged in Vellore jail was granted a 24-hour parole to attend the last rites of her deceased father. In her 26 years of incarceration, this was only the second time she had gotten parole. In 2004, she had got parole to attend her brother's wedding.

- Asian Tribune -

Rajiv case convict Nalini's parole rejected: TN govt objected
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