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Nalini files appeal in court seeking release from jail


Chennai : The Madras High Court Friday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to respond to notices on a writ appeal filed by Nalini Murugan, who is serving a life term for her involvement in the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The bench comprising Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly and Justice P. Jothimani ordered the state government to respond in four weeks.

Nalini had appealed to a larger bench against the orders of single judge Nagamuthu dismissing her plea for early release, saying she had completed over 17 years in prison – three years more than the maximum life term.

Nagamuthu had turned down the plea for her immediate release, ruling that only the state government could take a decision in the matter.

The court, however, upheld Nalini’s contention that the prison panel that advised the government against her release was wrongly constituted and ordered the creation of a fresh advisory body.

The death sentence awarded to Nalini in 2000 for her complicity in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi had been commuted to life imprisonment by the Madras High Court on technical grounds.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also recommended the commutation of the sentence on humanitarian grounds after she gave birth to a girl while being tried for the murder.

Nalini’s daughter Megara is studying in Britain and has applied for Indian citizenship.