The duo have spent more than 20 years in prison

Encouraged by the State government’s decision to release the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, family members of the imprisoned associates of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan on Monday approached the district administration for a similar relief.

According to A. Julius, a social worker, who brought the family members of the prisoners to the Collectorate, the State government could consider releasing Andiappan of Kathirampatti in Mettur taluk of Salm district and Perumal of Anthiyur in Erode district, who had already served more than 20 years in jail.

The duo were awarded life sentence by the Erode Sessions court in 1997 in the case relating to the murder of Forest Ranger Chidambaram in 1987 near Gunderipallam Dam. The CB-CID police had investigated the case.

According to the petition submitted by the family members of the prisoners, Perumal was jailed at a young age.

In the case of Andiappan, his three children could not be educated as his wife Kulandaiammal, a daily wage earner, was earning only Rs.70 a day. The family members were not even in a position to visit the prisoners at the Coimbatore Central Prison.

Hence, the State government must show mercy, the petition said.

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