Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC orders release of convicts; Congress calls it 'unfortunate'
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered premature release of Nalini Sriharan and R P Ravichandran serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Both of them had moved 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.
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.
Calling it unfortunate, Congress said that SC not acted in consonance with spirit of India.
-- May 21, 1991: Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi assassinated at a poll rally in Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu.
-- May 24, 1991: Probe handed over to Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
-- June 11, 1991: CBI arrests A G Perarivalan (19), books him under Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
-- January 28, 1998: TADA court sentences 26 accused, including Perarivalan, to death.
-- May 11, 1999: Supreme Court upholds Perarivalan's conviction and sentence.
-- October 8, 1999: Supreme Court dismisses Perarivalan's review petition.
-- April 2000: Tamil Nadu governor commutes death sentence of Nalini Sriharan on state government's recommendation and an appeal from former Congress president and Rajiv Gandhi's widow, Sonia Gandhi.
-- August 12, 2011: Perarivalan files mercy petition before President under Article 72 of the Constitution, which is rejected. Aggrieved thereby, Perarivalan files writ petition in Madras High Court.
-- May 1, 2012: High court transfers the case to Supreme Court.
-- February 18, 2014: Supreme Court commutes Perarivalan's death sentence to life imprisonment, along with that of two other prisoners -- Santhan and Murugan -- on grounds of 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas by Centre.
-- December 30, 2015: Perarivalan files petition under Article 161 of the Constitution for remission of his sentence.
-- September 9, 2018: Tamil Nadu cabinet passes resolution recommending Perarivalan's release, sends it to governor.
-- January 25, 2021: Tamil Nadu governor forwards petition filed by Perarivalan under Article 161, along with recommendation made by Tamil Nadu cabinet, to president.
-- March 9, 2022: Supreme Court releases Perarivalan on bail, taking into account that he had spent more than 31 years in jail.
-- May 18, 2022: Supreme Court orders Perarivalan's release, invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution.
-- August 12, 2022: Nalini Sriharan and Ravichandran move Supreme Court seeking premature release.
-- September 26, 2022: Supreme Court issues notices to Centre, Tamil Nadu government on plea of Nalini Sriharan and Ravichandran seeking premature release.
-- Nov 11, 2022: SC directs premature release of the six remaining convicts in the case, including Nalini Sriharan and Ravichandran, noting that the Tamil Nadu government has recommended remission of sentence to them.
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