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Supreme Court Orders Release Of All Convicts In Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case

The Bench passed the order allowing convicts Nalini, Santhan, Murugan, Sriharan, Robert Payas, and Ravichandran to walk out of jail.

Rajiv Gandhi
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The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the premature release of Nalini Sriharan and R P Ravichandran serving a life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Both of them had moved to the top court seeking premature release.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna said the judgement of the top court in the case of A G Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case, is applicable in their matter. The Bench passed the order allowing convicts Nalini, Santhan, Murugan, Sriharan, Robert Payas, and Ravichandran to walk out of jail.

All convicts are to be released from jail if not needed in any other case, the court said while hearing the plea filed by the prime accused named in the case, who were present at the site of the bombing attack which killed Rajiv Gandhi and 21 others.

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.

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.

Reaction from Congress

The Congress on Friday termed "totally unacceptable and completely erroneous" the Supreme Court order directing the premature release of six convicts serving a life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and said the apex court has not acted in consonance with the spirit of India on this issue.

In a statement, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said the decision of the Supreme Court to free the remaining killers of the former prime minister is "totally unacceptable and completely erroneous".

"The Congress party criticises it clearly and finds it wholly untenable. It is most unfortunate that the Supreme Court has not acted in consonance with the spirit of India on this issue," he said.

(with PTI inputs)
 

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