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Former accused in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case can finally return home

The Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) of the Union Ministry of External Affairs has issued an emergency travel document for Santhan, one of the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to return to Sri Lanka immediately. 

Santhan is currently at the special camp in the Trichy Central Jail and will be escorted by officials to the International airport there. The New Indian Express (TNIE) reported that “acting on a request from Santhan, the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission issued a temporary travel document to him and now the FRRO has given an exit permit.

“Once Santhan books the ticket, he will be deported. Instructions have been given to the district administration to escort him until the airport,” Collector M Pradeep Kumar reportedly told TNIE. 

Last week Santhan was given a travel document by the Sri Lankan High Commission. His lawyers submitted a copy of the letter written by the Deputy High Commissioner to the State government on February 2nd this year informing them of the issuance of a travel document for Santhan. The court was notified of the letter and it is presently up to the  Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) in Chennai to spell out a date Santhan can leave. 

Prior to this, his mother Thillaiyampalam Maheshwari wrote a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry to expedite his repatriation. 

Santhan was convicted with six others for facilitating the assassination of the former Indian Premier. However, in November 2022, the High Court released all seven individuals. Subsequently, they were transferred to the Special Camp, a detention centre for foreigners located in Trichy Central Jail, where they have been held since November 2022.

Recently, Santhan fell seriously ill and was admitted to a government hospital in Chennai for treatment. As his health continued to worsen he was then transferred to a government hospital in Trichy. Reports indicate that Santhan is grappling with severe liver and kidney problems. Further medical complications resulted in Santhan being moved back to Chennai, to the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital.

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