New Delhi: P Ravichandran, one of the convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, today approached the Supreme Court, demanding that he be released like fellow convict AG Perarivalan.
In jail for 30 years now, Ravichandran wants interim bail until his case for formal release reaches a conclusion. He had earlier gone to the Madras High Court, which dismissed his plea last month, saying that high courts do not have the special powers that the Supreme Court has.
The Supreme Court had on May 18 ordered AG Perarivalan’s release, while the six other convicts remain in jail. P Ravichandran has cited that order in his plea now, filed on his behalf by advocate Ananda Selvan.
The plea says Ravichandran contributed Rs 20,000 from his prison work earnings towards the Tamil Chair at Harvard University in the US — an act that shows he is a “socially conscious man” and “will not be a threat to any of the people”. He earned the money from prison jobs between 2016 and 2017. “He will not be a negative force in society,” the plea adds.
Ravichandran had earlier written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking the release of the remaining six convicts, including him. Mr Stalin and his party DMK had praised the decision to release AG Perarivalan.
It was the previous AIADMK cabinet in Tamil Nadu that had recommended premature release of all the seven convicts in September 2018. In the case of AG Perarivalan, the Supreme Court had given him bail, too, after which he sought release from jail. But the central government opposed his plea for release.
The Supreme Court ordered that he be allowed to walk free, saying, “State cabinet had taken its decision based on relevant considerations. In exercise of Article 142, it is appropriate to release the convict.”
After this, there was speculation that it could pave the way for the release of the other six convicts, Ravichandran, Nalini Sriharan and her husband Murugan, a Sri Lankan national.
Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991, by the separatist organisation Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). At least 14 others were killed.
The Congress had expressed pain at AG Perarivalan’s release, and slammed the government for creating “a situation” in the court to get the killer of a former prime minister released for their “petty and cheap politics”. “A terrorist is a terrorist and should be treated as one,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said.
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