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Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Nalini moves Supreme Court for bail

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Nalini, prime accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has moved the Supreme Court for premature bail, months after the Apex Court ordered release of A.G.Perarivalan, second convict in the case.

Nalini was present at the site of the bombing attack, which killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and 21 others.
She has been on medical bail since 2021. Ravichandran, another convict who has moved the Supreme Court seeking release, is also on medical bail since 2021.

Perarivalan, Nalini and Ravichandran are Indians, while the other four convicts in the case are Sri lankan members of the LTTE organisation.

In 1999, seven people were convicted by the Supreme Court, with Nalini, Perarivalan and two others being given the death penalty, while the others were given life imprisonment.

In 2000, Nalini was given life imprisonment, which was earlier a death penalty, after a statement was made by Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, Sonia Gandhi, for clemency.

After Perarivalan was given relief on May 18 this year, Nalini and Ravichandran have now sought relief on parity.

Their mercy petition seeking release after over 31 years in jail, has been pending before the Tamil Nadu Governor since 2015.

Lawyer of Nalini, Anand Selvam, said the plea before the Supreme Court has challenged a Madras High court verdict, which dismissed her petition for release.

The Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers recommended release of Rajiv Gandhi case convicts in 2018, but the matter was not taken up by the Governor and sent to the President.

Instead of taking a decision, the Governor sent the issue to the President.

Even though the Tamil Nadu government promised parity considering the case of the remaining convicts– Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, Ravichandran, Jayakumar and Robert Payas, but no decision has so far been taken for their release from jail.

The bench said that as the Council of Ministers have recommended his release, the Governor was bound by the recommendation to grant the same.

As the court had exercised extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 142 to release Perarivalan, sadly the same automatically cannot be applied for the release of others.

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