Congress, Janata Party leaders oppose Nalini’s release


Chennai : Even as the five-member Prison Advisory Board formed by the Tamil Nadu government is preparing its report on the premature release of 11 life convicts, Congress leaders and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy have voiced opposition against the release of S. Nalini and others convicted for the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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The state government had constituted the board headed by Vellore District Collector C. Rajendran to consider the plea of life convicts for premature release as they had spent more than 14 years in prison. Denying the speculation that the board has decided to recommend the release of Nalini, Rajendran said it is for the state government to decide on the release and the board would submit its report soon.

Voicing his opposition to the release of Nalini, former Congress union minister E.V.K.S.Elangovan said the state government should remember she was from a banned terrorist organisation involved in the killing of the country’s former prime minister and others.

According to state Congress chief K.V.Thankabalu the law of the land should take its course. He reminded that the party had lost its great leader in the attack on May 21, 1991.

Janata Party president Swamy said the release cannot be easy as it has to pass through several steps. “I will fight against the release at every step,” he remarked. He said he would file a petition seeking revocation of the advisory board.

Nalini was awarded the death penalty in 1991 but later at the intervention of Congress chief and Rajiv Gandhi’s widow Sonia Gandhi, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Last September she had filed a petition in the Madras High Court asking for the Tamil Nadu government to convene the advisory board to consider her case for release from jail.

In her petition, Nalini had said that she was entitled for release in 2005 itself as she had completed 14 years in jail. Later she started her fasting protest. In 2007, the state government had rejected her application for release and she had then filed a case in the Madras High Court in 2008.

The court directed the state government to reconsider her request for release by a validly constituted advisory board. As the government has not constituted the advisory board yet Nalini asked the court to form a board and to submit a report to the state.

Nalini’s husband and co-convict Murugan is also serving his sentence in the same prison.

Last March Priyanka Vadra, daughter of Rajiv Gandhi, had visited Nalini and the latter cited the meeting in her demand for release.

It will be interesting to see how the state government would react to the board’s recommendations as it can agree or disagree with it.

In Sri Lanka the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been decimated and its leader V.Prabhakarn killed by the island army.