The six remaining prisoners, including Nalini Sriharan, who were serving life sentences in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, were all ordered to be released early by the Supreme Court on Friday, November 11. Also, the release of the following prisoners was ordered: R P Ravichandran, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Payas, and Jayakumar. The seventh prisoner, A G Perarivalan, who was released in May, was mentioned by the bench in its order.
On the evening of May 21, 1991, a female suicide bomber by the name of Dhanu attacked a political rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, and killed former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
A bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna ruled that the ruling from the Supreme Court in the matter of A G Perarivalan from May 2022 applied equally here. The top court had ordered his release on May 18 after he had served more than 30 years in prison by using its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution.
Courtesy pic: www.theindianexpress.com
Who is Nalini, who was found guilty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case?
Murugan, Nalini: Nalini, who is in her mid-fifties and is the daughter of a nurse and a police officer from Chennai, graduated from a prestigious Chennai institution. She was the only one of the seven prisoners present at the place when Gandhi was assassinated in Sriperumbudur. Later, pictures purporting to show Rajiv Gandhi arriving with the suspected assassins and Nalini appeared online.
Following the murder, Nalini and her husband Murugan—another suspect—left Chennai and hid out in a number of locations for more than a month before being apprehended. Nalini was expecting back then. After giving birth, they raised their daughter in prison until she was five years old.
As per M Radhakrishnan, Nalini’s attorney, Nalini and Murugan have never met their daughter who was reared by a different family after she was released from prison. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that Nalini was an obedient participant and that there was insufficient evidence to prove that she was a member of the plot. It stated that, as she was entangled in the conspiracy, from which a woman like Nalini could not free herself, she would not have dared to flee the scene.
Despite Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, successfully seeking for a life sentence in 2000, the Supreme Court sentenced her to death in a majority judgement.
Chennai: What Nalini has to say regarding Rajiv Gandhi assassination case?
Nalini Sriharan, one of the six former Rajiv Gandhi assassination suspects, claimed on Sunday that she was only detained because of her association with some of her husband’s associates and that she had no involvement in the plot. Sriharan was one of the six who were freed a day ago after a Supreme Court judgement.
When asked if she regretted her role in the bombing’s deaths and that of others, she claimed her innocence.
“Actually, I play almost no part at all. I am aware of my conviction. However, my heart and conscience are aware of what occurred “In an interview with NDTV, Ms. Sriharan stated.
She said that although she was a member of the gang that plotted the assassination of the prime minister, she was not a part of the conspiracy.
“They were buddies of my husband. I consequently got to know them. She said I am an extremely private individual. I stay silent around them. She also said, I assisted when they required it, such as when visiting stores, theatres, hotels, or temples. I once accompanied them. She also said I am done now. Other than that, I do not know their family or affiliation, and I do not have any personal relationships with them “She spoke.
Ms. Sriharan claimed that prior to her death sentence being commuted in 2001, she anticipated being put to death at any moment and had seven hangman practice sessions.
However, she had pleasant memories of her encounter with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra while she was incarcerated.
“Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (daughter of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi) has a really generous nature. She was a saint. She also taught me to respect myself because we were not treated fairly in prison “said Ms. Sriharan.
It was forbidden to even sit in front of the cops. We had to communicate while standing. However, she forced me to sit close to her when she arrived to meet me. For me, it was a really unusual experience “She spoke.
When they first met, Ms. Gandhi Vadra allegedly asked Ms. Sriharan about the murder of her father, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. She shed tears and became distressed.
In addition, Ms. Sriharan spoke to NDTV about reuniting with her daughter Harithra, a doctor in London who was born to her in prison in 1992 and raised outside. Ms. Sriharan received a month of parole in 2019 to attend her wedding.
My daughter has forgotten who I am
Nalini said her daughter has utterly forgotten about me. She was born to me, but after she turned two, we were no longer together. We are currently attempting to reconstruct what occurred, she said.
The situation is quite difficult for both of us. We are capable. She is quite young; however we can understand her. She did not understand what was happening. She is suffering in that way as a result. My daughter finds it quite challenging, so “She said.
For her part in Rajiv Gandhi’s murder in 1991 by a suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during an electoral rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, Ms. Sriharan received the death penalty.
Thanks to Sonia Gandhi, the wife of Rajiv Gandhi, the sentence was changed to a life sentence. Six further defendants in the case had their sentences commuted by the Supreme Court years later.
Many people in Tamil Nadu, where their detention has been a contentious matter, cheered the judgement since they think the seven locals convicted were involved in the scheme without realizing its full scope.