Wigneswaran defends raising convicts’ issue with Modi
April 25, 2015 10:43 am
Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on Friday strongly defended his action of forwarding to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a representation, seeking the release of four convicts of a case of rape and murder, popularly called the Premananda case.
Addressed to Mr. Modi, the petition was signed by five persons, including K. Sivathy and Chandradevi, daughter and wife of Premananda’s secretary Kamalananda, who was given double life term that had to run consecutively. The signatories contended that their relatives had been in prison in Tamil Nadu for over 20 years.
In an interview with The Hindu over phone from Jaffna, Mr. Wigneswaran, who passed on the representation to Mr. Modi during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka in mid-March, said one of the signatories to the representation [Ms Sivathy] was from his State and since it was well known that he [Mr. Wigneswaran] would be meeting Mr. Modi, the request had come to him for presenting the communication.
“There is no impropriety in forwarding a representation to the person concerned,” he said, adding that “it is up to the Indian government to act as per law.”
The Chief Minister recalled that when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister, he did the same thing on an issue concerning fishermen.
A self-styled godman, Premananda, who hailed from Sri Lanka, established ‘Premananda Ashram’ near Viralimalai of Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu in 1989. The case pertained to the rape of 13 inmates and the murder of a male inmate, which came to light in November 1994. He was given two consecutive life terms by the Pudukottai District and Sessions Court in August 1997 after a 14-month-long trial. Six others were also convicted and given varying punishments. In December 2002, the Madras High Court confirmed the findings of the trial court and the Supreme Court had also dismissed the appeal. Premananda died in February 2011 at a private hospital in Chennai where he was undergoing treatment for liver failure. He was 59.
Asked about his description of the Premananda case as false in his letter to Mr Modi, the Chief Minister said “there is nothing for me to comment” about a case that had taken place in India.
Describing Premananda as a “very close friend,” Mr. Wigneswaran said he had known him for long. – The Hindu