Senior Congress leader Era Anbarasu today filed a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking to implead himself in the review petition by Nalini, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, pleading for her premature release.

In his petition, he said the Supreme Court had stated in a number of cases that ‘life imprisonment’ means sentence of imprisonment for whole of remaining period of the convicted person’s natural life and that rules framed under prison rules do not substitute a lesser sentence. “Hence Nalini cannot ask any authority to release her. It is not mandatory for the government to consider the request.”

He contended that if Nalini was released, she would be entitled to stay anywhere in India by virtue of her fundamental right and would act a conduit to LTTE and the outfit again might indulge in a conspiracy to eliminate popular national leaders.

Mr. Anabarasu said though LTTE leader Prabhakaran had been killed, there are still some hardcore LTTE supporters in Tamil Nadu claiming he is still alive. “Under these circumstances, if she is released, she will assist this group and create unnecessary law and order problem, besides endangering the life of political leaders opposed to LTTE,” he said.

He said her freedom cannot be ordered at the peril of lives and liberty of innocent and law abiding citizens.

Ms. Nalini was sentenced to death by a special court along with 25 others in January 1998 in the assassination case and the Supreme Court had confirmed the capital punishment for her and three others.

But her death penalty was commuted to life by the State government on April 24, 2000, allowing a clemency petition. In 2007, she had unsuccessfully appealed for premature release.

Ms. Nalini had on November 8 filed another petition in the High Court challenging the March 24 order of the government rejecting her plea for premature release under the Prison Advisory Board scheme.

On November 22, the court had directed the government to file its counter in two weeks on a review petition by Ms. Nalini against an April 6 court verdict rejecting her plea for premature release under the general amnesty scheme.

The court had held that Ms. Nalini had committed the crime in a cunning and meticulous manner which killed the former Prime Minister in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.

“So she cannot seek premature release as a right, though she does have the right to seek consideration of her plea,” the bench had said.