TN challenges Nalini's plea for early release

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Chennai, Aug 29: Tamil Nadu government on Saturday, Aug 29 opposed plea for early release of Nalini, a life convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination. The TN govt has filed a counter petition in the Madras High Court saying the government had taken a policy decision not to release those involved in the case.

Nalini, who is lodged in the Vellore Central Prison, had filed a petition earlier this year, seeking premature release on grounds of good conduct during her 17 years in jail. The state government has contested her claim, saying she had committed three minor offences during her sentence. In a report filed in the Madras High Court, the government said that a life-term meant punishment for the 'entire term'; and therefore cannot claim for remission.

"Nalini has not committed any prison crimes under the present rules. Earlier, she was awarded minor punishment for fasting, but this will not affect her release," said Nalini's lawyer Elangovan. Nalini's lawyer will further file a counter reply in this case on September 17, when the next hearing is scheduled.

The Madras High Court on August 26 had asked the petitioner Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy to submit documents backing his arguments opposing early release of Nalini Murugan.

The Centre has yet to file a reply in the case.

Nalini's death sentence was reduced to a lifer when Sonia Gandhi intervened on compassionate grounds after Nalini delivered a baby girl in jail. In April this year, Rajiv"s daughter Priyanka Vadra sparked a row when she visited Nalini in the Vellore jail. Priyanka said, “I do not believe in anger, hatred and violence and I refuse to allow it any power over my life. The meeting with Nalini was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss that I have experienced."

Why the plea was rejected?

Stating the assassination case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the government submitted that it could not interfere in cases investigated by the Central agency as per law. It said pleas by Nalini and two others for premature release should be rejected as the Advisory Board in the prison and the State Government's Consultative Committee had already rejected the pleas.

''The government had dismissed their plea for release taking into account the observations of the Consultative Committee that they were involved in the well planned and heinous murder of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and sympathised with the banned LTTE which was behind the assassination.'' It said Nalini had already availed a relief when her death sentence was commuted to life.

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