Murugan can travel back home to Sri Lanka: TN govt to HC

One of the seven former convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, he is now free after rehabilitation

Rajiv Gandhi embraces a then-young Rahul Gandhi after the death of his mother Indira Gandhi; he himself would be assassinated in 1991 (photo: Sondeep Shankar)
Rajiv Gandhi embraces a then-young Rahul Gandhi after the death of his mother Indira Gandhi; he himself would be assassinated in 1991 (photo: Sondeep Shankar)
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PTI

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Chennai yesterday, 26 March, granted travel documents to Murugan, an ex-convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Once a deportation order is issued, he can return home, the Tamil Nadu government informed the Madras High Court.

Murugan, alias Sriharan, a Sri Lankan national, was one of the seven convicts in the high-profile assassination and was freed by order of the Supreme Court in November 2022 after serving over 30 years in prison.

The Tamil Nadu government told the High Court that once the deportation order was issued by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Chennai, Murugan can go back to Sri Lanka.

Additional public prosecutor R. Muniyapparaj made the submission when the petition filed by Murugan, which sought a direction to the director of rehabilitation to issue a photo ID to him, came up for hearing before a division bench comprising justices R. Suresh Kumar and K. Kumaresh Babu.

Relying upon the letter addressed by the state government to the FRRO, Muniyapparaj submitted that temporary travel documents in original had already been issued by the Sri Lankan High Commission to the petitioner, based on which the necessary deportation order has to be passed by the FRRO. The state government has already addressed the matter to the FRRO through a letter dated 25 March 2024. Once the deportation order is issued by FRRO, the petitioner can return to Sri Lanka.

M. Radhakrishnan, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that at the time of filing of the writ petition, this development had not emerged and it had been placed before him only today. Since travel documents had been issued by the Sri Lankan High Commission to the petitioner, he would approach the FRRO to get the deportation order, he said.

Recording the submissions and disposing of the petition, the bench said, "In view of the said development as stated herein above, we feel that no order is required to be passed in this writ petition as per the prayer sought for herein to give a direction to the respondents to issue an identity card to the petitioner."

"Moreover, the very travel document issued by the Sri Lankan High Commission to the petitioner itself is enough and valid document, based on which he can get the deportation order from the FRRO, Chennai, and thereafter can travel back to his home country", the bench added.

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