Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: Tamil Nadu Govt seeks views from Centre on releasing of convicts

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Chennai: In the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case, yesterday, i.e. on Wednesday 2nd February, the State Government of Tamil Nadu asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to opine on the issue of releasing of Seven Convicts. The opinion was sought through a letter where it is found mentioned that, as the State has already decided to release such Seven Convicts in the case, the opinion from Central Govt. is also necessary under the provisions of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Moreover, the similar note was sent by the Government led by J. Jayalalithaa in the year 2014 (February) to the then UPA Government, when the honourable Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence of three convicts, namely, Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan. That note was found stating the ground of inordinate delay by the executive in deciding their mercy plea. That time the State has ordered suo motu for releasing of all Seven life convicts, after the court’s order, however, it was the Central Govt. that time which has rushed to the Supreme Court and got their release stayed.

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On all the Seven Convicts- namely, Jayakumar, Perarivalan, Murugan, Robert Payas, Santhan, Ravichandran and Nalini’s petitions receipt by the Tamil Nadu Govt., the Poll- bound State’s Chief Secretary- K. Gnanadesikan said in the recently sent letter to the Secretary in the MHA- Rajiv Mehrishi that the petitioners requesting that they be released as they have already spent around 24 years in the prison. Moreover, in the said letter, the writ petition filed by Nalini before the High Court of Madras is also found mentioned, where she claimed her release. Also, the letter is also stating that amongst such seven convicts, four are Sri Lankan nationals.

It was seen at the early time, when there were 41 accused were chargesheeted in the case, thereafter the TADA court had sentenced 26 accused to death (1999), then honourable Apex Court confirmed the sentence of four (Nalini, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan) and commuted the death sentence of three to life and released remaining, then (2000) Tamil Nadu Governor commuted death sentence of Nalini to life sentence and moreover in the recent past year (2014) the apex Court has commuted the death penalty for the remaining three convicts to life imprisonment.

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Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan