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Sri Lankan High Commission has issued travel document for Rajiv Gandhi case convict Santhan, T.N. informs Madras High Court


Santhan alias T. Suthenthirarajah, a convicts of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, informed the Madras High Court that the Deputy High Commission for Sri Lanka in Chennai had issued a temporary travel document in favour of former PM Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict, Santhan alias T. Suthenthirarajah.

Appearing before a Division Bench of Justices R. Suresh Kumar and K. Kumaresh Babu, Additional Public Prosecutor R. Muniyapparaj submitted a copy of the letter written by the Deputy High Commission to the State government on February 2, 2024, informing it about the issuance of the travel document. Santhan is a Sri Lankan Tamil.

The letter stated that the Deputy High Commission had received a request from the Ministry of External Affairs on November 29, 2023 for issuance of a travel document to Santhan who was released from prison last year on the orders of the Supreme Court but was subsequently lodged in a foreigners’ detention camp in Tiruchi.

The APP told the court that the State government, through its Public Secretary, had forwarded the Deputy High Commission’s letter to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) in Chennai on February 9, 2024 itself since the temporary travel document was valid only till August 1, 2024.

The law officer also served copies of the Deputy High Commission’s February 2 letter as well as the Public Secretary’s February 9 communication on Additional Solicitor General (ASG) AR.L. Sundaresan as well as Santhan’s advocates M. Radhakrishnan and P. Pugalenthi who had demanded that he be sent back to Sri Lanka.

On his part, the ASG told the court he had no instructions so far with respect to the FRRO having received the communication addressed to him by the Public Secretary on February 9. However, since he had been served a copy now in the court by the APP, he sought time to get instructions from the FRRO.

The judges accepted his request and granted time till February 29 to get instructions as to whether the FRRO would be issuing the exit permit so that the convict could fly to Sri Lanka to attend to his ailing mother, aged 75, residing at Valvetti in Jaffna.

The convicts counsel brought it to the notice of the court that he was a Sri Lankan national who was entitled to fly back to his country but the FRRO had detained him at the camp just for want of travel documents from the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission.



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