Veeraraghav T M
Chennai: The DMK government in Tamil Nadu hasn't made up its mind on the mercy petition Nalini Sriharan, who is serving life imprisonment for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Nalini met Priyanka Vadra, daughter of the assassinated leader, in Vellore jail in March and later filed a petition before the Madras High Court to be released early as she had spent over 16 years in prison.
The state government has to respond to Nalini’s petition but it is confused. The government wasn’t informed about Priyanka’s secret meeting with Nalini and the Congress hasn’t given it a clear message about the meeting. DMK chief M Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister in 2000 when Nalini's death penalty was commuted to a life sentence. Rajiv Gandhi’s widow Sonia Gandhi, the current Congress president, had then asked for Nalini's death penalty to be commuted on humanitarian grounds.
This time too the state government is reluctant to respond to Nalini's petition without a clear message from 10 Janpath and is likely to seek more time to file its reply
Nalini’s lawyers though argue that it's a matter entirely in the hands of the state government. "The state government must respond to this petition. We have mentioned in our petition that constitutionally there is no need to consult the Central government,” says Nalini’s lawyer S Duraiswamy.
Janatha Party president Subramaniam Swamy has warned he would file a petition against Nalini’s plea because he believes that giving her leniency would set a dangerous precedent. The Central government and not the state government should decide about Nalini’s petition, he says.
“These people were the conspirators (in the assassination) and they were the infrastructure of the LTTE and therefore they deserved to die,” says Swamy.
The LTTE issue has for long been a thorn in the alliance between the Congress and the DMK and Nalini's fate is yet another delicate question for Karunanidhi.
Also read the related stories in THE HINDU as follows:
Swamy seeks to implead himself in Nalini’s petition
CHENNAI: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking to implead himself as a respondent in a writ petition filed by S. Nalini, serving life imprisonment in the case relating to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, seeking premature release.
In the petition, Dr. Swamy said it had been held by the Supreme Court in several cases that a life convict did not have any inherent right to demand premature release.
He had a genuine and reasonable apprehension that if Nalini was prematurely released, serious prejudice would be caused to the cause of justice and public interest would suffer.
He had been lonely agitating on various issues against the LTTE and hence the Centre had provided him Z category security cover.
It had been proved beyond doubt that Nalini had actively participated in the assassination of the former Prime Minister. Her case for premature release was, therefore, totally unpardonable, Dr. Swamy said.
He said it would be necessary in the interest of justice to implead himself as a party in the writ petition to assist the court in the fair disposal of the application.
The High Court had earlier ordered notice to the authorities including the State Home Secretary and the Union Home Ministry on the petition filed by Nalini.
She submitted that the death sentence on her was commuted to life imprisonment. She was eligible for premature release as she had completed 14 years on June 17, 2005.
However, her name was not considered for release either in 2005 or 2006 or even 2007.
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Also read the related stories in Dinamani as follows:If you have any Font Problem, kindly download the font here:
Wednesday June 11 2008 00:05 IST
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Also read the Nalini's Advocate Interview to NDTV as follows:
Also read the related developments in this case as follows:
Nalini's Release Petition Hearing Adjourned To June 18
Thursday 12th of June 2008
The Madras High Court has adjourned to June 18 its hearing on a petition by Nalini, serving a life term for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Nalini has been in Tammil Nadu's Vellore jail for 17 years. Earlier this month, she has sought early release for good behaviour. Her petition is attracting notice because Rajiv Gandhi's daughter Priyanka met her in jail earlier this year.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated May 21, 1991, in Sriperumbudur on the outskirts of Chennai by cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Of the 26 people convicted in the case, four were given the death penalty. Nalini was one of the four, but her sentence was later commuted to a life term. She was convicted of protecting the assassination conspirators.
On June 9 Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy filed an impleading petition, opposing her release.
In his petition, Swamy said the Supreme Court had in several cases held that 'life sentence' meant sentence for life and a convict had no right to demand premature release.
The Supreme Court of India had in Nalini's case held that 'for a person like Nalini, there is no room for any leniency, kindness and benevolence and hence the sentence of imprisonment for life is inadequate', Swamy said, adding: 'there is no apparent judicially tenable change of circumstances for any new review of the earlier stand of the government within a short period of six months, except the secret meeting between the convict and Priyanka Vadra, daughter of (Rajiv) Gandhi.'
When the case came up for hearing Thursday in the court of Justice S. Nagamuthu, Swamy's counsel G. Rajagopal said that Swamy should be considered a party to the proceedings, 'keeping in mind the welfare of society'.
The convict 'does not have any inherent right' to demand premature release, he argued.
Nalini's counsel V. Elango sought 'more time' to answer Swamy's allegations, which he described as 'baseless'.
Special government pleader V. Arul, appearing for the state government and Assistant Solicitor General P. Wilson, appearing for the centre, also sought time to file a reply to Nalini's petition.
The case was then adjourned by the judge.
Nalini, 37 has a teenage daughter. Her husband, Sriharan alias Murugan, has been sentenced to death in the same case. Nalini's plea for release was rejected once in December 2006.
Nalini using HC as tool: Swamy
Friday June 13 2008 09:49 IST
Express News Service
CHENNAI: The convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Nalini is using the High Court as a tool for her early release from the Central Women Prison in Vellore, senior advocate G Rajagopal, the counsel for Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, told Justice S Nagamuthu of the Madras High Court on Thursday.
When the writ petition from Nalini and the impleading petition from Swamy came up before the judge on Thursday, Rajagopal said that Nalini adopted the same tactic earlier when her plea for commutation of death sentence to that of life was rejected by the TN Government.
Challenging the rejection order, she moved the HC, which directed the government to reconsider her plea. And the government commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment, the counsel pointed out adding that no public interest was involved in her premature release.
V Elangovan, the counsel for Nalini, sought time to file a detailed counter in response to Swamy’s petition.