Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin granted parole to attend father’s last rites

Chennai: Nalini Sriharan, a convict serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, was on Wednesday granted a day’s parole to participate in the last rites of her father, who died at Tirunelvelli.

She left the Vellore Central Prison (women’s jail) under police escort at 6.50 a.m to attend the last rites of her father, a retired police inspector, in Chennai.

Expressing her gratitude to the Tamil Nadu Government and the Prison Department for granting parole, Nalini said, “There was nobody like us who would be behind bars for 25 years. Only Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa is capable of releasing the seven of us, and I am expecting it.”

Praising Congress president Sonia Gnadhi, she said she would be indebted to her. “We would, however, be equally happy if Rahul Gandhi (Congress vice president) extends his support for our release. He should at least consider it for the sake of my child,” Nalini added.

Nalini and three others, including her husband Murugan, were sentenced to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. However, her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2000, while the death sentence of the other three was commuted by the Supreme Court a few years ago, citing inordinate delay in the disposal of their mercy pleas.

They have been lodged in the jail for the last 25 years.

Rajiv Gandhi and 14 others were killed on May 21, 1991 when a suicide bomber blew her up after touching his feet at an election campaign rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai. (ANI)