Madurai: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday
challenged a court order directing it to grant at least two
weeks ordinary leave to P Ravichandran, convicted in the Rajiv
Gandhi assassination case, at the Madras High Court Bench
Ravichandran, 16th accused in the case, was found guilty of
participating in criminal conspiracy to assassinate the former
Prime Minister and was sentenced to death along with 25 others
by Special Court on January 28, 1998. The Supreme Court had
commuted his sentence to life term.
Ravichandran is undergoing life term at Central Prison
here and has spent more than 20 years in prison. His mother
Rajeshwari had filed a writ petition in the Madurai Bench of
the High Court seeking to release his son on 30 days ordinary
leave for settling family disputes and also to make
arrangements for maintenance of lands, properties and house.
Justice V Ramasubramanian on December 20 had directed
authorities to release Ravichandran on ordinary leave for at
least two weeks and pass appropriate orders within two weeks
prescribing the date, time and the modality for working out
While passing the order, the Judge had also pointed out
the prisoner had gone out only three occasions for short
spells. On all those occasions, his conduct and character in
the society, had not come to adverse notice, he said.
The Tamil Nadu government had filed a writ appeal in the
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court seeking to stay the order
of the single judge.
Superintendent of Prisons (Madurai) R Anbalagan submitted
that in the earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on
leave for a total of 14 days on three different occasion along
with heavy police escort party headed by DSP (Surveillance).
But the High Court had directed to grant at least two weeks
ordinary leave, which was a "very long duration".
The state government said the prisoner was involved in
the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and
his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or
prejudicial to public peace and tranquillity and the security
of the prisoner also would not be safe.
The government pointed out the prisoner had also not paid
escort charges to the tune of about Rs 1.3 lakh that had been
spent when he had gone on leave. In the event of his release
further, he had to pay a large amount as escort charges.
The deployment of a large number of policemen in
Virudhunagar district as escort for the prisoner would also
affect the normalcy in the area, the government said.