In a major development, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea moved by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin Nalini Sriharan seeking early release from prison.
Sriharan is currently incarcerated in the Vellore Central Prison in Tamil Nadu.
Earlier this year, the SC commuted the death sentence of the co-accused Sri Lankan nationals Murugan and Santhan and of AG Perarivalan, who is an Indian in connection with the case.
Their sentences were commuted on the grounds that there had been a delay in the Centre deciding their mercy plea. The release of four others, who had been given life sentences for the assassination, was also announced by the Tamil Nadu government led by former chief minister Jayalalithaa, citing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
However, the Supreme Court rejected their release and constituted a Constitutional Bench to look into the matter.
The former Prime Minister’s assassins were convicted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act in January 1998. Three of the accused had been awarded the death sentence and four had been awarded life sentences.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bomb attack in Sriperumbedur, Tamil Nadu, on May 21, 1991.
Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran are undergoing life sentence for their role in the assassination of Gandhi on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.
Nalini’s counsel Duraisamy had claimed that she has been languishing in the prison for nearly 18 years ‘for no fault of hers’. He further claimed that she had not committed any offence, except accompanying someone to the election rally, in which former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated.