Decision On Rajiv Murder Convict Nalini's Premature Release To Take Some More Time
An advisory board formed to consider the plea for premature release of Nalini, undergoing life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case, will take some more time to submit its report to the government, a top official said in Chennai.
"The board's recommendations are under preparation. It will take some more time to finalise its recommendations," Vellore District Collector C Rajendran, heading the Board, told PTI on Thursday, a day after it heard Nalini at Vellore women's prison where she is lodged.
Besides Nalini, imprisoned for the last 19 years, the board also heard the pleas of two other convicts in the case, Jayakumar and Robert Payas, seeking premature release.
Earlier, Rajendran told reporters at Vellore that it was for the state government to decide on its recommendations, adding, "We will be sending our report in a few days." The board was set up following a direction from the Madras High Court on September 24, 2008 while partly allowing a petition by Nalini, to consider her request.
The plea of Nalini, arrested on June 14, 1991 and sentenced to death by a special court along with 25 others in January 1998, was rejected by authorities concerned in October 2007.
In May 1999, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of only four including Nalini. Her death penalty was commuted to life imprisonment by the state on April 24, 2000 after the then governor allowed her clemency petition.
"No, there is no such news. Yesterday, the committee met. They will be forwarding their recommendation only in the course of the day," Nalini's counsel S Doraiswamy said when asked about possibility of Nalini's release. Meanwhile, former TNCC president and senior Congress leader, EVKS Elangovan, said the government should think 'twice' before releasing Nalini.
'If she is released, it will send out wrong signals and we cannot forget that she is from a banned terrorist organisation LTTE', Elangovan, a staunch critic of the outfit, said.
The government constituted board, headed by District Collector C Rajendran, had met for over three hours on Wednesday and heard Nalini on her plea at Vellore women's prison, where she is lodged.The meeting went on till late in the night.
The board also heard the pleas of two other convicts in the case, Jayakumar and Robert Payas, seeking premature release, at the men's prison.
District Superintendent of Police, Shekhar, District Judge Kalaiarasan, Regional Probational Officer of Prisons, Krishnamma Namagiri and Lecturer from Academy of Prisons and Correctional Activities, Julie, are the other board members.
Nalini presented her case for over ten minutes before the board, which was set up following a direction from the Madras High Court on September 24, 2008 while partly allowing a petition by her, to consider her request. Her earlier request for premature release was rejected by the authorities concerned in October 2007.
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, who is against Nalini's release, said the matter cannot be easily disposed of by just an advisory board. "There are many more stages to go through and I will fight each and every stage in the memory of Rajiv Gandhi".
"I am one of the parties that has to be heard before orders are passed. I had gone to court last time and the state government was then forced to take a stand against her release," he added.
On September 11 last, Nalini, who has served over 18 years in Vellore prison, had filed a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking her premature release.
She had contended that she was required to serve 14 years of imprisonment to be entitled for premature release under Sec 433(a) of CrPC, which she completed on June 18, 2005.
In her petition in the High Court, she had sought a direction to the government to constitute an advisory board in accordance with law to take a decision on her premature release in the light of the Court orders. Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber in Sriperumubudur on May 21, 1991.
A senior prison official has given a clean chit in regard to conduct of Nalini, undergoing life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to an Advisory Board which has to take a stand on premature release sought by her.
The District Probation Officer has told the Board that Nalini's conduct in Vellore Central jail where she is lodged has been good during the 12 years she has been in the prison following her conviction, reliable sources said today.
The probation official also apprised the Board that Nalini(44), mother of a 19-year-old girl, had completed her Masters course in Computer applications while undergoing the punishment. The fact that she is a mother of a young girl has also been mentioned as a factor by the official, the sources said.
The official's assessment would now be considered by the Board headed by District Collector C Rajendran which also has the District Superintendent of Police and the District Judge as members along with a non-official member.
The sources said the favourable report of the Probation official would be weighed by the Board before it sends its recommendation which will be done in the next few days.
The Advisory Board was formed to consider Nalini's plea for premature release.