Ravi gagged from talking to media and interacting with members of banned outfits

Permitting the life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Ravi alias P. Ravichandran (42), lodged in prison since 1992, to go on ordinary leave to resolve a property dispute among his family members, the Madras High Court has restrained him from giving interviews to the media, interacting with members of banned outfits and making adverse comments in connection with the case during his stay at his mother’s house in Virudhunagar district.

A Division Bench of Justice K.N. Basha and Justice P. Devadass passed the order while disposing of a writ appeal filed by the State Government challenging an order passed by Justice V. Ramasubramanian. Not finding any infirmity with the order passed by the single judge, the Division Bench made it clear that the expenses incurred towards providing escorts to the convict, the transportation charges as well as other incidental expenses during his leave period must be borne by the State. The escorts would be fully responsible for the safety and security of the convict during this period, it added.

The orders were passed despite vehement objections raised by Additional Government Pleader T.S. Mohammed Mohideen who claimed that granting leave to the convict might prove prejudicial to public peace and tranquillity. Pointing out that the convict had already been granted five days of leave in September 2001 and six days in August 2002 to attend to the health needs of his then ailing father apart from three more days in May 2003 to participate in his father’s funeral, Mr. Mohideen said there was no need for the prisoner to go on leave to settle property disputes as arrangements for that could be made inside the prison itself.

However, convict’s counsel T. Lajapathi Roy said the single judge had considered all these objections in his order wherein it was stated that “the incidents pointed out by the respondents do not convince me to hold that his presence was a threat … The prisoner has spent more than 20 years in prison. He has gone out only on three occasions for short spells. On all those three occasions, his conduct and character in society has not come to adverse notice.”