RP Ravichandran, one of the six convicts in the assassination case of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, said that he would fight legally the review petition filed by the Central government in the Supreme Court against the November 11 release order.
Ravichandran went to the Viduthalai Chiruthigal Katchi (VCK) party head office on Monday and was welcomed by the party President.
“Today I came to meet VCK chief Thirumavalavan at his Chennai office. I thanked him as they (VCK) were with us for our freedom,” Ravichandran said.
VCK Party President Thol Thirumavalavan welcomed Ravichandran and gave him sweets and expressed his happiness.
Notably, the Central government on Thursday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the November 11 order allowing the release of six convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A bench of BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna passed the order while taking into consideration the good conduct of convicts in prison.
The apex court had noted that they had been behind bars for a very long period. Seeking a review of the top court’s order, the Centre said, “The order granting remission to the convicts who had assassinated the former Prime Minister of the country was passed without affording an adequate opportunity of hearing to Union of India.”
Talking about his release, Ravichandran said, “I am happy that I have been released from prison. I was in prison for years and I am going to see this world freely.”
On November 11, the Supreme Court ordered the release of six convicts including RP Ravichandran and Nalini Sriharan, who were serving life imprisonment in connection with the assassination in the case.
Earlier soon after coming out of the jail, Ravichandran said that the people of north India should see them as “victims instead of terrorists or killers”. He said that time will judge them as “innocents”.
Speaking to media from Madurai Central Prison, Ravichandran said, “The people of north India should see us as victims instead of terrorists or killers. Time and power determine who is a terrorist or a freedom fighter but time will judge us as innocent, even if we bear the blame for being terrorists.”
Ravichandran and Nalini had approached the apex court seeking release from prison-like fellow convict AG Perarivalan. This came after the Supreme Court, on May 18, had evoked its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to release AG Perarivalan, who was one of the seven convicts in the assassination case.
The Tamil Nadu government had earlier recommended the premature release of convicts saying that its 2018 aid and advice for the remission of their life sentence is binding upon the Governor. Ravichandran and five others were serving life sentence terms in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
They were set free by the SC on the grounds of having good conduct in jail. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group during a public rally.
The seven convicts were sentenced to death for their role in the killing. They included Nalini Sriharan, RP Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Payas, and AG Perarivalan. In 2014, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha recommended the release of all the seven convicts in the case.