1,405 life convicts released to mark Anna's centenary

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Chennai, Sep 15 (UNI) A total of 1,405 life convicts, including 22 women, serving term in various prisons were today released by the Tamil Nadu government to commemorate the birth centenary of Dravidian Stalwart and Former Chief Minister C N Annadurai.

The state government had ordered release of the convicts who had completed seven years in jail and five years in respect of those above 60 years of age.

A total of 117 convicts, including six women, were released from Puzhal Prison where financial aid was distributed to them for self-employment.

Similar functions were held in Coimbatore Central Prison where 296 lifers were released, Palayamkottai (273), Madurai (266), Tiruchirapalli (181), Vellore (131), Cuddalore (128), Salem (10) and Kerala (3).

The prisoners said they had turned a new leaf and thanked Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his humanitarian gesture.

There was an element of uncertainty about the release when Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy challenged its legality.

But Madras High Court, while refusing to stay the release, said the government could go ahead subject to conditions imposed in the bonds being executed by them.

In the event of Dr Swamy winning the case, the premature release could be recalled, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifullah said last night while hearing Dr Swamy's petition in a special sitting.

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