Three AIADMK members, who were sentenced to life imprisonment in the infamous Dharmapuri college bus fire case, were released from Vellore Jail Monday after Tamil Nadu Governor Bunwarilal Purohit accepted the state government’s pre-release recommendation.
In February 2000, the Supreme Court convicted J Jayalalithaa of corruption in Pleasant Stay Hotel case and sentenced her to one year’s rigorous imprisonment. The news agitated AIADMK members who launched a violent protest across Tamil Nadu. Three students of Tamil Nadu Government Agricultural University —Kokilavani, Hemalatha, and Gayathri— were burnt alive inside a college bus in Elakkiampatti near Dharmapuri district.
This violent incident led to the arrest of Nedunchezhiyan (aka Nedu), Ravindran (aka Madhu) and Muniyappan. They were awarded capital punishment by the trial court in February 2007.
The three submitted a review petition in the Supreme Court and, in 2016, the apex court reduced their punishment from death sentence to life imprisonment. Earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu government recommended the premature release of the three convicts following the 101st birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran.
However, Governor Purohit returned the files to the state government asking to reconsider. But the Edappadi K Palanisamy led-Tamil Nadu Government reinitiated their request to release the convicts which was then accepted by the governor.