Nalini Sriharan, who is serving life sentence for her involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was granted parole for 30 days on Friday, The Hindu reported. The Madras High Court granted Nalini parole to allow her to make arrangements for her daughter’s wedding in London.
A division bench of Justices MM Sundresh and M Nirmal Kumar granted Nalini parole on the condition that she should not neither give interviews to the media nor entertain visits from politicians. The court ordered her to observe all other regulations listed in the Tamil Nadu Prison Manual.
The court also directed the state government to bear the expenses for providing Nalini with escorts. The judges ordered the convict to provide details of her sureties within a week, and said their authenticity should be verified within 10 days. After the procedure is completed, Nalini’s parole can begin, the court added.
Nalini had sought six months of ordinary leave in February, saying a life convict can get a month’s “ordinary leave” every two years. She pointed out she had not applied for it even once in 27 years. Her mother made a similar representation the following month. She moved the High Court after her petition was not considered by prison officials. State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan told the court that rules permitted only 30 days of leave.
Rajiv Gandhi was killed in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991, when an operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam set off an RDX-laden belt she had under her belt. The LTTE was seeking revenge for the Indian government’s decision to send troops to Sri Lanka to help the island country fight the Tamil separatists.
In 1998, 26 people were sentenced to death for the conspiracy, but a year later the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of only four of them – Nalini Sriharan, Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and AG Perarivalan. Three others – Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran – were sentenced to life imprisonment and the remaining 19 were freed. In 2000, Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 2014, the top court commuted the death sentences of the other three as well, saying the Centre cannot unduly delay examining their mercy petitions.