New Delhi (Daily Pakistan Online) The Supreme Court has released six criminals, including Nalini Sriharan, in the murder case of former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi after 31 years of imprisonment. In May, the Supreme Court used its extraordinary powers to free the seventh convict, Pararevlan. The court said that the same order applies to other criminals as well. The court also wrote in the judgment that the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had recommended to the Governor in 2018 that the convicts be released and the Governor is bound to implement the recommendation.
Apart from Nalini, others sent to jail for the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi include Sriharan, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Pias and RP Ravichandran. The Supreme Court said that while incarcerated, the convicts showed ‘satisfactory behaviour’, obtained degrees, wrote books and also participated in social service.
Many in the state of Tamil Nadu believe that the seven prisoners played a minor role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and were framed for a conspiracy they knew little about. Various movements were going on in the state for the release of these prisoners.
It should be noted that Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu by a female suicide bomber belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group from neighboring Sri Lanka. All seven released convicts were sentenced to death for their role in the murder. In 2000, Nalini Sriharan’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment at the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi’s wife and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi. In the year 2008, Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also met him in Vellore Jail. Later in 2014, the sentences of six more convicts were also commuted. In the same year, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, initiated steps to release the convicts.