Vellore: Nalini Sriharan, one of the six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, expressed her gratitude to the Tamil Nadu and central governments for extending “help” to her during her punishment of 32 years and said that she wants to be with her family.
Sriharan, who is the longest-serving woman prisoner serving a life sentence in the country, was released from the Vellore jail on Saturday following an order from the Supreme Court on Friday, freeing all six convicts, including RP Ravichandran, in the case.
Upon walking out of the jail, she thanked the people of Tamil Nadu, who she said, supported her for 32 years.
#WATCH | I will go wherever my husband goes. We were separated for 32 years. Our family kept waiting for us… I am not planning to meet anyone from the Gandhi family. I want to thank State & Central govt: Nalini Sriharan, a convict in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi pic.twitter.com/xXIT1IGOxU
Speaks of her future plans
Speaking to ANI, Nalini spoke about her future plans whether she will live in India or shift abroad and said that all her family members have been waiting for her for a long time and she now wants to be with them.
“I want to be with my family. All members of my family have been waiting for such a long time. I want to thank the State and Central govt. They helped us a lot during this period,” she said.
When asked if she would meet anybody from the Gandhi family after her release, Nalini said that she is not planning to do so while also adding that she will go “wherever my husband goes”.
“I will go wherever my husband goes. We were separated for 32 years. Our family kept waiting for us… I am not planning to meet anyone from the Gandhi family. We are under the case. There is no possibility of me meeting them. I want to thank the State and Central governments. I thank the state government for giving me parole, so I could go to the Supreme Court and try my level best,” she said.
Our judges know everything
She remarked on the order passed by the two-judge bench of Justice BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna who took into consideration the good conduct of convicts in the prison, and said that the judges have studied their cases and they know “what is wrong and what is correct”.
“Our judges know everything. They have studied our case. They know what is wrong and what is correct and what they can do, they have done it,” she said.
Apart from Nalini, the other convicts in the case are Ravichandran, Robert Payas, Jayakumar, S Raja, and Sriharan.
Ravichandran, one of the six convicts in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, was released from Madurai Central Prison.
On May 18, the Supreme Court had evoked its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to release AG Perarivalan, who was one of the seven convicts in the assassination case.
Nalini and Ravichandran approached SC
Nalini and Ravichandran had approached the apex court seeking release from prison-like fellow convict AG Perarivalan.
The Tamil Nadu government had earlier recommended the premature release of convicts saying that its 2018 aid and advice for the remission of their life sentence is binding upon the Governor.
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin welcomes SC’s decision
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to release six convicts including Nalini Sriharan of the assassination case of the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
“I welcome the Supreme Court Verdict on the release of six persons,” Stalin said in a tweet on Friday.
“This judgment of the Supreme Court is proof that the decisions of the government elected by the people should not be shelved by the governors in the appointed positions,” he said.
Nalini Sriharan and five others were serving life sentence terms in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. They were set free by the SC on the grounds of having good conduct in jail.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group during a public rally.
The seven convicts were sentenced to death for their role in the killing. They included Nalini Sriharan, RP Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Payas, and AG Perarivalan.
In the year 2000, Nalini Sriharan’s sentence was reduced to a life term. Later in the year 2014, the sentence of the other six convicts was also reduced, and during the same year, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha recommended the release of all the seven convicts in the case.