Shradhanand’s lawyer Varun Thakur pleaded to a panel of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala that the convict has been sentenced to life without parole or parole for a single murder and has already served 29 years in jail, without even getting a day’s probation.
Those convicted of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, an incident in which 16 people were killed and 43 injured in 1991, have also been released from prison after serving 30 years of suspended detention, he said Thakur. “This is a classic case of violating the right to equality,” he said. Bench agreed to list the petition in advance of the hearing.
In his request for an early hearing, Thakur said that the petitioner is over 80 years old and has been in prison since March 1994. As a death row inmate, he has been held in solitary confinement in Belgaum Jail for three years and also suffers from multiple ailments, he said the lawyer.
He said his application to be granted remission and parole was filed in 2014 but remained pending without further hearing after the apex court issued a notice to the Karnataka government.
On 11 November, SC had ordered the release of life sentences in the case of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination: Nalini, Murugan, Ravichandran, Jayakumar, Santhan alias Suthenthiraraja and Robert Pius. On May 18, the SC had used its omnibus powers under Article 142 to order the release of another case of Rajiv AG Perarivalan’s assassination.
Shakereh, grandson of a former Dewan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, married Shradhanand in 1986, a year after she divorced her husband of 21 years, Akbar Khaleeli, India’s former envoy to Australia and Iran. The crime was committed to usurp Rs 600 crore property of Shakereh, who was drugged and buried alive in April-May 1991. Her body was exhumed and Shradhanand arrested on 30 April 1994. In 2000, a court sentenced to death. In 2005 the Karnataka High Court upheld the sentence. Upon his appeal, the CS in 2008 had changed the sentence from the death penalty to “whole life imprisonment without any remission”.