The Madras High Court on Thursday granted one-month parole to Robert Payas, one of the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to attend to his son Tamilko’s wedding.
Allowing his petition, a division bench of Justices M M Sundresh and Rmt Teekka Raman said Payas should stay in Kottivakkam in Chennai and he should not interact with the media.
Payas had moved the court in September seeking ordinary leave after the Chennai Puzhal Prison administration rejected his parole request.
The bench granted parole after the advocate general said the prison administration had no objection and that it had rejected his application only because he failed to give a proper address for his parole period .
Payas along with Murugan alias Sriharan, his wife Nalini, Perarivalan and three other convicts have been in jail for over 28 years since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in an election rally in Sriperumpudur on May 21, 1991 by an LTTE suicide squad.
Nalini was earlier given similar parole in July to oversee arrangements for the wedding of her daughter Harithra who was born in prison.
Perarivalan is now in parole to attend his niece’s wedding in Dharmapuri. He was in jail when his sister got married 23 years ago.
The special TADA court convicted all 27 accused and sentenced them to death. On appeal, the Supreme Court confirmed death for Nalini, Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan. It gave varied terms , including life, for others.
Tamil Nadu Governor Fatima Bivi, on the advice of the then Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, commuted Nalini’s sentence to life as she was then pregnant.
Murugan and five others got a reprieve on a petition by Ram Jethmalani when the Supreme Court commuted their sentence to life on the ground of inordinate delay on the part of the President in disposing of their mercy petition.
On a remission petition by Perarivalan, the apex asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider afresh his plea for premature release.
The Tamil Nadu government as well as the Assembly have recommended the release of all the seven . But Governor Banwarilal Purohit is sitting on the Cabinet recommendation.