Reached Daily Limit?

Explore a new way of legal research!

Click Here
Indian Case Summary

State Of Tamil Nadu Through … vs Nalini And 25 Others on 11 May, 1999 – Case Summary

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In the case of “State Of Tamil Nadu Through … vs Nalini And 25 Others” on 11 May, 1999, the Supreme Court of India was presented with a complex and high-profile case involving the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The case was presided over by Justice D.P. Wadhwa.

Facts of the Case

On the night of 21st May 1991, a horrific crime was committed that shocked the nation. Former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by a human bomb. Along with him, 15 other individuals, including 9 policemen, lost their lives, and 43 others suffered injuries. The assassin, Dhanu, an activist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), detonated a belt bomb concealed under her waist. Haribabu, a photographer (and also a conspirator) who was engaged to capture the horrific sight, also died in the blast.

The crime was traced back to the perpetrators through a camera found intact on the body of Haribabu at the scene of the crime. The film in the camera, when developed, led to the unfolding of the dastardly act committed by the accused and others. A charge of conspiracy for offences under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA), Indian Penal Code (IPC), Explosive Substances Act, 1908, Arms Act, 1959, Passport Act, 1967, Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 was laid against 41 persons. Out of these, 12 had already died by suicide, and three had absconded. The remaining 26 faced trial before the Designated Court.

Issues in the Case

The case revolved around several key issues, including the identification and prosecution of all individuals involved in the conspiracy and the execution of the assassination. The court had to consider the evidence in great detail due to the gravity of the crime and the death sentences passed on the accused by the Designated Court.

Court’s Observations

The court noted that the assassination was a result of a complex conspiracy involving several individuals and organizations. The accused were charged with infiltrating into India clandestinely, carrying and using unauthorized arms, ammunition and explosives, setting up and operating unauthorized wireless sets to communicate with LTTE leaders in Sri Lanka, causing and carrying out acts of terrorism and disruptive activities in Tamil Nadu and other places in India, assassinating Rajiv Gandhi, causing disappearance of evidence thereof and escaping, and screening themselves from being apprehended, among other charges.

The court found the accused guilty of the offences charged against them. The Designated Court awarded death sentences to all of them on the charge of conspiracy to murder. The sentence was referred to as a “judicial massacre” by Mr. Natarajan, the senior counsel for the accused. The Designated Court also sentenced each of the accused individually for various offences for which they had been separately charged. The sentence of death was submitted to the Supreme Court for confirmation, and the accused also filed appeals challenging their conviction and sentence.

This case stands as a significant example of the judicial process in dealing with acts of terrorism and the complexities involved in prosecuting such cases.