The Tamil Nadu Government on Monday told the Madras High Court that it has rejected the plea for premature release of Nalini, serving a life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The government's decision, taken on March 24, was conveyed to the court by Advocate General P S Raman.
The Prison Advisory Board, constituted by the government to consider Nalini's representation, has rejected her plea on eight grounds and the state government has accepted it, Raman told a division bench of the court.
The bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and K K Sashidaran was hearing a petition by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy challenging a September 2008 order by a single judge directing the state government to constitute the advisory board to consider the release of Nalini, who is in prison for the last 19 years.
The court on March 11 last asked the state government to take a decision within two weeks on her plea after the AG submitted that the the PAB's report was being examined.
Nalini was sentenced to death by a special court along with 25 others in January 1998 and the Supreme Court had confirmed the capital punishment for her and three others.
However, her death penalty was commuted to life by the state government on April 24, 2000 allowing a clemency petition. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had favoured reduction of her punishment considering the plight of Nalini's young daughter. An earlier plea by Nalini for premature release was rejected by authorities in October 2007.
Maintaining that Nalini "participated fully" in the Rajiv Gandhi's killing, Swamy said outside the court that the commutation of her sentence was "wrong".
"Rajiv Gadhi was the prime minister of India. Our prime minister was killed by a foreign terrorist organisation (LTTE)," he said. PTI