Jayalalithaa govt decides to end jail life of Rajiv killers
The Jayalalithaa government today decided to set free all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
Chennai: In a surprise move welcomed by several parties, including arch-rival DMK, the Jayalalithaa government today decided to set free all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three of them to life.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced in the state assembly the decision taken at the emergency Cabinet meeting held this morning, triggering celebrations by pro-Eelam supporters in several places in the state.
The Supreme Court had yesterday commuted the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan (both Sri Lankan Tamils) and A G Perarivalan on the ground of 11 years delay in considering their mercy pleas by the Centre.
The Tamil Nadu government set a three-day deadline for itself and also to the Centre over the release of the three and Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, who are undergoing life sentence for their role in the assassination of Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber on May 21, 1991 in nearby Sriperumbudur.
Jayalalithaa, making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, said that soon after the Supreme Court reprieve to three death row convicts she consulted legal experts on the observation of the apex court that state could consider their release in the backdrop of them spending about 23 years of incarceration since their arrest in 1991.
She said her government would send the Cabinet proposal to the Centre as mandated under Sec 435 Cr.PC seeking its nod for release of convicts and asserted if there was no response within three days, the government would invoke powers vested with it under Sec 432 Cr.PC and release all seven convicts.
“Whether they respond or not (in three days), accept (the proposal) or not, we will release them under the powers vested with the state government,” she said for a second time while intervening Puthiya Tamizhagam member S Krishnasamy.
Her announcement was welcomed by all parties in the assembly barring the Congress, whose state unit leader B S Gnanadesikan later dubbed it as ‘competitive politics’.
Taking a swipe at arch rival DMK, whose President M Karunanidhi yesterday demanded immediate release of the three convicts, Jayalalithaa accused that the previous government headed by him was responsible for rejection of mercy petitions by Perarivalan and two others by the state governor and also the President in 2000.
Twenty-three years after they were jailed, the Tamil Nadu Government today decided to set free within three days all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case […]