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Centre moves SC for review of order releasing convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

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New Delhi, Nov 17: The central government on Thursday approached Supreme Court against the November 11 order allowing the release of all convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

(L-R) Sriharan alias Murugan, Nalini Sriharan and Santhan, convicts of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, in Vellore district. (Photo credit: PTI)

On November 11, Sriharan, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Payas and Ravichandran were freed by the court besides Nalini.

Nalini and Ravichandran had moved the top court seeking premature release.

Both of them had challenged a June 17 order of the Madras High Court, which rejected their pleas for early release, and cited the apex court judgment ordering the release of co-convict Perarivalan, as reported by PTI.

Nalini, Ravichandran, Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar were sentenced to life terms in the case.

Invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution, the top court had on May 18 ordered the release of Perarivalan, who had served over 30 years in jail.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally. In its May 1999 order, the Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence of four convicts Perarivalan, Murugan, Santhan and Nalini.

However, in 2014, it commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment along with those of Santhan and Murugan on the ground of an 11-year delay in deciding their mercy petitions. Nalini's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2001 on the consideration that she has a daughter.

The Tamil Nadu government had earlier favoured the premature release of Nalini and Ravichandran, saying its 2018 advice for remission of their life sentence is binding upon the governor.

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