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Santhan's last wish to go home and take care of his mother remained unfulfilled

Santhan, who was among the seven convicts released in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, died on Wednesday following a cardiac arrest.
Last Updated 28 February 2024, 10:21 IST

Chennai: The last wish of Santhan, among the seven convicts released in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to return to his home in Sri Lanka and take care of his aged mother never materialised.

Santhan alias T Suthendiraraja (55) died here on Wednesday following a cardiac arrest.

He had been battling for his life in hospital for nearly a month, determined to return home, but his failing ill health took the better of him. His brother was by his side when he breathed his last, Santhan’s counsel Pugazhendhi said.

Santhan would be taken to his house in Sri Lanka for the last rites, the counsel added.

Despite the Supreme Court releasing him from prison along with six other convicts in 2022, and with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Chennai, issuing an order to send him to Lanka on February 23, in his favour, Santhan could not be sent home as ordained.

Santhan was rushed to the Hepatology (liver) ICU of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) here on January 28 in a critical condition from the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital, Tiruchirappalli, where he was undergoing treatment for cryptogenic cirrhosis - a condition with no apparent underlying reason.

He was brought to the hospital here with breathlessness, fluid in the abdomen and swelling in the limbs. "He suffered a setback in his condition on Tuesday night and early today he passed away after a cardiac arrest," RGGGH dean Dr E Theranirajan said.

While A G Perarivalan was set at liberty by the Supreme Court in May 2022, Santhan and others were released in November 2022. All of them have been in prison for over three decades in connection with the former prime minister’s assassination case.

In May last year, he sought release from the special camp where he was lodged in Tiruchirappalli and reportedly said the jail was better than the room in the special camp for refugees.

On February 13, the state government had informed the Madras High Court that the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission here had issued temporary travel document to Santhan.

Robert Payas, Murugan alias Sriharan and Jayakumar were the others who were moved from the Vellore prison to the Tiruchirappalli special camp along with Santhan.

The Supreme Court had ordered the premature release of Nalini Sriharan and another convict, R P Ravichandran, too.

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(Published 28 February 2024, 10:21 IST)

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