Self-styled godman Shraddhananda, who is serving life sentence for the murder of his wife Shakereh Namazi, has moved the Supreme Court seeking released from prison like the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Alleging that his is a classic case of violation of the right to equality, Shraddhananda said he has already spent over 29 years in jail without getting a single day’s parole.
Shraddhananda alias Murli Manohar Mishra had drugged Namazi and buried her alive in the compound of her sprawling bungalow in Bangalore on April 28, 1991.
Shakereh, grand-daughter of Sir Mirza Ismail, former Diwan of Mysore, had married Sharddhananda in 1986 after divorcing Akbar Khaleeli, a former diplomat.
Seeking parity with the convicts of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Shraddhananda has contended before the apex court that he was sentenced to life imprisonment without remission or parole for a single murder.
The plea filed through his lawyer Varun Thakur said the petitioner is over 80 years old and has been incarcerated in jail since March 1994.
“In fact, the petitioner was interrogated by police authority and his judicial confession taken. On that basis he was awarded death sentence by the trial court which was upheld by high court. However, this court converted his death sentence into life sentence without remission, but authority concerned wrongly interpreted the Supreme Court judgment and did not give a single-day parole to the petitioner,” the plea submitted.
The plea said recently the top court released the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, who also enjoyed the benefit of parole and other liberty during the pendency of their petitions.
“The petitioner was involved in only one criminal case and not released for a single day parole, and on other hand those accused in the assassination of the ex-prime minister, enjoyed every benefit including remission/ parole,” the plea submitted.
“Hence, not listing the subject writ petition is great violation of fundamental rights. It is also noted that many other prisoners involved in heinous crime are also released but the present petitioner was not released, which is a violation of the right of equality. This is a classic case of violation of right to equality,” the plea submitted. Seeking urgent hearing on his plea, Shraddhananda had said his plea for a grant of remission and parole was filed in 2014 but it has been pending after the top court issued a notice to the Karnataka government.
On a complaint lodged by Namazi’s daughter, police had worked out the case and exhumed her body after which the self-styled godman was arrested.
According to the prosecution, Shraddhananda wanted to grab his wife’s property.