Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Santhan, who served 32 years in jail for Rajiv Gandhi assassination, succumbs to illness after release

One of the released convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Santhan (55) died on Wednesday.

Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital authorities confirmed that he died at 7.50 am.

Santhan was admitted to RGGGH for treating cryptogenic cirrhosis with liver failure on January 27, The Hindu reported.

He was earlier sentenced to death by the trial court and later the punishment was converted to life imprisonment.

After having to spend 32 years behind bars, he was released along with Nalini Sriharan, Sriharan alias Murugan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Jayakumar from different jails.

All the seven were sentenced to death along with 19 others in 1998 by the controversial Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in Poonamallee, seven years after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 during an election rally.

However, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence to Nalini, Perarivalan, Santhan, and Murugan, but commuted the sentence to life in jail for Ravichandran, Robert Payas, and Jayakumar and released 19 others.

After three decades, in 2022, the Supreme Court released all seven convicts.

Even after getting released in November 2022, he was made to live in the special camp in the Trichy central jail campus, along with Murugan, Jayakumar and Robert Payas.

As all of them had no travel documents, initially they were not allowed to leave the country.

But then the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Chennai issued an order last Friday deporting Santhan to Sri Lanka.

After a long period of incarceration, Santhan’s health deteriorated and resulted in multiple illnesses.

Santhan alias Suthenthiraraja was first taken to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Trichy, from where he was referred to RGGGH.

Santhan’s lawyer told the Deccan Herald that his mortal remains will be flown to Sri Lanka after following due procedure.

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