"Like Nalini, spare me": Prisoner's request

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Kondayapalayam:  The Tamil Nadu government may still be undecided over the premature release plea of Nalini Sriharan, one of the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi. And while it recently set free a few life convicts of the Coimbatore bomb blast case, there's a new plea for clemency emanating from the same Coimbatore prison.

R Govindaswamy, a convict in Coimbatore Central Prison, has escaped the death penalty twice after the court and the government intervened. He murdered five of his relatives over a property dispute 25 years ago, when he was just 17.

Now, seeking clemency for him, his wife cites the case of Nalini as a precedent.

Govindaswamy's wife Eswari, who is a daily wage earner and has been struggling to educate her two children, argues: "Nalini was guilty of a pre-meditated murder of a former Prime Minister. Her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. My husband murdered under provocation. Why can't his life be saved?"      

Govindaswamy's lawyers have also been arguing that he committed the murders under grave provocation. His father, who was mentally challenged, had been allegedly ill-treated by the deceased.

Govindaswamy's mercy petition will now be heard yet again by the President.

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"Delay defeats justice. The courts have ruled that any inordinate delay in deciding such matters may go in favour of the prisoners," says Shyam Sundar, ADGP - Prisons, Tamil Nadu.

The Union Home Ministry will soon have to take a view on whether Govindaswamy`s multiple murders do fall under the 'rarest of rare' cases.


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