The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the early release of six convicts, including Nalini Sriharan and RP Ravichandran, who are serving life sentences in the Rajiv Gandhi murder trial. A bench of judges BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna said the verdict of the highest court in the case of AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case, applies equally to their case.
Following the order, Congress general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said the Supreme Court’s decision to release the remaining assassins of the former prime minister is “totally unacceptable and completely wrong”.
“The Congress party clearly criticizes it and finds it completely untenable. It is deeply regrettable that the Supreme Court has not acted in accordance with the spirit of India in this matter,” he said.
However, the Prime Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK President MK Stalin, an ally of Congress, welcomed the release of convicts and said this verdict is proof that decisions of an elected government should not be suspended by governors in appointed positions.
Nalini Sriharan and Ravichandran had moved the highest court to demand early release. Both had challenged a June 17 order from the Madras High Court, which rejected their pleas for parole, citing the court’s highest verdict ordering the release of co-convict Perarivalan. Nalini, Ravichandran, Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar were sentenced to life imprisonment in the case.
Rajiv Gandhi was murdered on the night of May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a female suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, during a poll.
(With PTI inputs)
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