Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, was Thursday granted a month’s parole by the Tamil Nadu government which considered a request from her ailing mother, Padmavathi.
The state government’s decision was revealed by the government counsel before the Madras High Court on Thursday during a hearing of the petition filed by Padmavathi. Citing age-related reasons, she asked the court to direct the state Home Secretary to grant parole for her daughter.
The division bench of Justices P N Prakash and R Hemalatha closed the petition following the state’s decision to grant the one-month ordinary parole.
This will be Nalini’s second ordinary parole since her arrest in 1991. The earlier instance, in July 2019, lasted for a month and 20 days.
She will stay at a house in Vellore with her close relatives, including her mother, sister and brother.
Nalini’s mother, Padmavathi, or Padma, is a retired nurse. Padmavathi and her younger son, Bhagyanathan, were among those sentenced to death in 1998 along with Nalini and 24 others by a special TADA court.
In 1999, the Supreme Court released the majority of them, including Padmavathi and Bhagyanathan while upholding the death sentence of four, including Nalini and her husband, Murugan.
Nalini was also allowed two emergency paroles in the past — one to attend her brother’s wedding and another after the death of her father P Sankara Narayanan in 2016 — each lasting for a couple of hours.
Nalini was pregnant when she was arrested in 1991 along with Murugan. Her daughter, Harithra, was born in prison and spent her first four years there.
She was then sent to Coimbatore with a fellow prisoner woman for early education. Harithra later joined Murugan’s family in Sri Lanka and migrated to the UK at the peak of the Sri Lankan war. She completed her studies and is living abroad now.
Murugan, also known as Sriharan, is a Sri Lankan citizen. He is lodged at Vellore prison, where he is allowed to meet Nalini once in a fortnight.
Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life in 2001, considering the fact that she has a daughter. Murugan’s death sentence was commuted by the Supreme Court in 2014 along with that of three others, including A G Perarivalan.