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Rajiv assassin demands early release
Published on 22 Sep. 2009 1:06 AM IST
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S. Nalini, undergoing life imprisonment in the Vellore jail for her involvement in the assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, began an indefinite fast Monday to demand her immediate release, officials said. Nalini, 43, said she would continue her protest till she is released from prison. According to the prison authorities, Nalini informed them about her decision to go on fast Sunday but gave it in writing only Monday morning. Superintendent of Police, Vellore prison, Jeyabharathi told IANS over phone that the prison authorities have informed the state government, Vellore collector and other officials about Nalini’s protest. A doctor checked Nalini’s health Monday and her health condition will be monitored daily, she added. She has refused to eat since this morning, demanding that an advisory board to decide on her premature release be set up at the earliest, a prison official said. Nalini was awarded death penalty in 1991 but later at the intervention of Congress chief -- and Rajiv Gandhi’s widow -- Sonia Gandhi, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Last week, Nalini had filed a petition in the Madras High Court asking for the Tamil Nadu government to convene the advisory board to consider her case for release from the jail. In her petition, Nalini had said that she was entitled for release in 2005 itself as she had completed 14 years in jail. In 2007, the state government had rejected her application for release and she had then filed a case in the Madras High Court in 2008. The court directed the state government to reconsider her request for release by a validly constituted advisory board. As the government has not constituted the advisory board yet Nalini asked the court to form a board and to submit a report to the state. This petition came up for hearing in the Madras High Court Monday and the court asked the state government to respond in two weeks’ time and posted the next hearing for Oct 6. Meanwhile, Nalini started her fast at the jail in Vellore, 130 km from Chennai. Nalini’s husband and co-convict Murugan is also serving his sentence in the same prison.

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