Did Wigneswaran Break Protocol Writing to Modi To Free Convicts?
A Foreign Ministry official said that as per protocol, the Chief Minister should send his letter to the Foreign Ministry first. The Foreign Ministry will, in turn, send it to the destination through the Foreign Ministry of the country concerned.
However, in the case of the Northern Province Chief Minister this diplomatic route is not insisted upon these days because of the close relations existing between Lanka and India, he added. The protocol is not uniformly applied.
“And, at any rate, the Northern Chief Minister has written to Modi in the past, without any objections from Colombo,” the official pointed out.
In his official letter dated March 14, 2015, Wigneswaran told Modi that he was forwarding documents sent by one K.Sivathy, daughter of R. Kamalananda, convict No: 4220.
“Since the girl’s father and mother hail from our (Northern) province, I take the liberty of forwarding the said documents for your kind consideration. Mr.Ram Jethmalani who is known to me is fully aware of the false case filed,” Wigneswaran said.
The documents, addressed to Modi, were signed by immediate family members of the convicts R. Kamalananda; S. Balendra; S. Sathishkumar; and S. Nandakumar.
The convicts’ relations claimed that a “travesty of justice” had taken place. And with the Indian Supreme Court confirming the sentence, the release had become “impossible”.
Pleading for Modi’s good offices to get them released, they said: “ Our dear ones have been in prison for more than 20 years now. The best years of their lives are gone and our lives have also been affected very much. It might be noted Sir, that they are not convicted for any positive act of crime but for abetment only.”
Wigneswaran requests Modi to release 3 convicted of raping 13 girls
April 24, 2015 08:52 am
The three -Kamalananda, Balan alias Balendiran and Sathis alias Sathishkumar – were convicted and sentenced along with Premananda for raping 13 girls, including minors, and conspiring to murder an inmate in the godman’s ashram near Trichy.
They were sentenced to double life imprisonment, and the punishment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005. While Premananda died in Cuddalore prison in 2011, the other three are currently lodged in Puzhal jail in Chennai. All the four were Sri Lankan Tamils.
In his letter, Wigneswaran, a former judge of Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court, said Kamalananda and the others were falsely implicated in the case. “Premananda’s ashram and its properties have to be maintained. No one is there to take care of them. Please immediately release them as they are innocent,” he said. Some senior officials expressed surprise and shock over Wigneswaran questioning the Indian judicial system and describing the convicts as innocent.
Premananda died in 2011 at the age of 59 in due to multiple health problems, including an acute end-stage liver disease. Kamalananda, a close associate of Premananda, Balan and Satish were convicted for abetment in the rape of the girls and the murder of Ravi whose body was buried inside the sprawling ashram at Fathima Nagar near Trichy.
Kamalananda’s wife Dr Chandradevi, who was charged with terminating the pregnancies of some of the rape victims, was convicted and sentenced to a 39-month jail term. She completed her prison term and was released on payment of a fine of Rs 30,000. While Kamalananda and Balan are engineering graduates, Satish had completed higher secondary. All of them have completed 16 of the 40 years of their sentence.
Declining to reply to queries emailed to him by TOI, including one on whether it was right to seek the release of the life convicts, Wigneswaran merely admitted to sending an appeal to Narendra Modi for their release. He added that the case history was known to senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who had defended the convicts.
A Sri Lankan, Premananda had set up the ashram in the 1980s. In 1994, he was charged with raping the 13 inmates, all Sri Lankan Tamils. The case came to light after one of the victims escaped from the ashram. Another victim became pregnant and a DNA test established that Premananda was the culprit. On August 21, 1997, the then Pudukottai district and sessions court judge R Banumathi (now Supreme Court judge) sentenced Premananda to double life imprisonment and a cumulative fine of Rs 66.4 lakh, Times of India reports.