Three AIADMK men serving life term sentence released

The release has come as a surprise at a time when the Tamil Nadu Cabinet’s decision to set free seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. File photo

Three AIADMK men, serving life imprisonment for setting ablaze a bus with three girl students of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) alive in 2000 in protest against their leader J Jayalalithaa’s conviction in Pleasant Stay hotel corruption case, were released from Vellore central prison on Monday.

The girls -- Kokilavani, Gayathri and Hemalatha – were burnt alive in Dharmapuri after the bus in which they and 41 others from the TNAU, Coimbatore were travelling.

The trio – Nedunchezhiyan, Ravindran and Muniappan – were set free from the prison at 12.15 pm on Monday after authorities here received a fax from the office of the Director General of Police (DGP) ordered their release. Their release came after Governor Banwarilal Purohit cleared the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to pre-maturely release the trio as part of Dr M G Ramachandran’s centenary celebrations.

Purohit, who had earlier rejected the government’s decision, affixed his seal of approval following the Edappadi K Palaniswami dispensation sending it back to him. The release has come as a surprise at a time when the Tamil Nadu Cabinet’s decision to set free seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The trio were sentenced to death by a trial court in 2007 and the same was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2011. However, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after they went on an appeal.

The case relating to the burning of the bus with three girl students dates back to February 2, 2000 when Jayalalithaa was convicted in the Pleasant Stay hotel case. The bus with students who were on a study tour was torched in Dharmapuri by the three AIADMK men.

The Tamil Nadu government has recommended the premature release of about 1,800 life convicts on the occasion of the birth centenary of MGR. So far, more than 250 convicts have been released.

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Three AIADMK men serving life term sentence released

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