The Madras High Court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to file its response to a plea by Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Nalini Sriharan, which sought an extension of 30 days for her ongoing parole, PTI reported. The Madras High Court had granted her leave for a month on July 5 and she was released 20 days later to attend her daughter’s wedding.
The High Court bench listed the matter for further hearing on Thursday. Sriharan submitted that she approached the court as the deputy inspector general of prisons had rejected her representation for extension in a letter on August 13.
Sriharan claimed that she was unable to finish the arrangements for her daughter’s wedding despite “sincere efforts”. Sriharan’s present leave will end on August 25.
The convict had earlier asked for a six-month leave for the same reason. The public prosecutor said that under the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules, a convict is granted a maximum 30 days’ parole so the court may consider allowing leave within the maximum limit.
The court also observed on Tuesday that Rule 22 of the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules provides for an extension that can be exercised only after the initial grant. After Sriharan was released last month, she stayed in Sathuvachari, Vellore with her daughter Harithra Sriharan, mother Padmavati, sister Kalyani and brother Bhagyanathan, and is not allowed to travel to her home in Chennai’s Royapettah locality.
Nalini had never before been granted 30-day parole in her 27-year-long imprisonment.
Rajiv Gandhi assassination
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu 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.