Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government's decision to release all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case evoked mixed response among opposition parties on Thursday with BJP guarded in its reaction and PMK slamming ruling AIADMK for trying to gain political mileage out of it.
Union Minister and senior BJP leader from the state Pon Radhakrishnan said a "right decision would be taken at the
right time by the Central government".
"This is not an issue that could be politicised," he said reacting to the government's decision announced yesterday to remit the life imprisonment of the seven convicts and release them.
The state government has intimated its decision to the Centre and sought its views under CrpC section 435, which requires the state to consult the Central government in certain cases before taking action.
BJP's state President Tamilisai Sounderrajan underlined her party's stand that while guilty should not be spared, innocent should not be punished, too.
"One has to take a humane approach while looking at the time spent by them (the seven convicts) in jail but everything should be within the legal framework," she said.
PMK Chief S Ramadoss said, "It is an exercise aimed at seeking political mileage", as he lashed out at Jayalalithaa for not choosing to use Article 161 of the Constitution, which deals with power of governor to grant remit sentences, to free the seven convicts.
The present exercise would never succeed, he claimed.
Tamil Manila Congress chief G K Vasan said "the Centre should take a decision based on law, justice and humanitarian grounds subscribing to the court guidelines in this regard."
Tamilaga Vazhvurimai Katchi chief Panruti T Velmurugan said Jayalalithaa's move was "historic" and urged the Centre to give its nod for remission.
The state government has said it took the decision on petitions from the seven convicts requesting it to release
them as they had spent more than 20 years in prison.
The convicts are V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.
DMK President M Karunanidhi has backed the decision, saying the convicts had spent about 25 years behind bars.
His son and DMK Treasurer M K Stalin said the government had taken up the issue "with an eye" on the coming election.
The state government's move also had its echo in Parliament where Congress opposed it. PTI