Rajiv Gandhi assassination: SC asks TN governor to consider Perarivalan's mercy plea; minister says Palaniswami to decide

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday said it stood for release of all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and would take a decision after going through the Supreme Court's order on a plea by one of them.

Reacting to the apex court's order directing the Tamil Nadu governor to consider the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan, one of the seven life convicts in the case, state Law Minister CV Shanmugam said the government wanted to release all of them.

"It is the stand and desire of late Amma (Jayalalithaa) that all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case should be released," he told reporters.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami will take a decision after a thorough study of the Supreme Court's judgment and consultations with legal experts, he said.

Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal expressed joy over the ruling and appealed to the state government to take steps for the expeditious release of her son and six others as well.

 Rajiv Gandhi assassination: SC asks TN governor to consider Perarivalans mercy plea; minister says Palaniswami to decide

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1993. Reuters

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Naveen Sinha and KM Joseph disposed of the Centre's petition regarding a Tamil Nadu government's proposal for the release of the convicts.

The Centre had on 10 August told the apex court that it does not concur with the Tamil Nadu government's proposal to release the seven convicts, saying remission of their sentence will set a "dangerous precedent" and have "international ramifications".

Perarivalan, 47, had told the apex court that no decision had been taken as yet on his mercy petition filed before the Tamil Nadu Governor on 30 December, 2015 seeking remission or pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Welcoming the court order, DMK president MK Stalin said a Cabinet meeting should be convened and a resolution adopted facilitating the release of all the seven convicts.

Noting that late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi had appealed for their release several times, he said "All of them should be released immediately."

Advocate Prabhu who represented the case in Supreme Court told PTI over phone that the release contemplated was under Article 161 of the Constitution wherein either consultation or concurrence of the Central government was not necessary.

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief Su Thirunavukkarasar, however, struck a different note. When asked if he welcomed the court ruling, he said, "no," but added that "let it happen according to law."

"The death of Rajiv Gandhi on Tamil Nadu soil is still a wound in the hearts of the people," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Thirunavukkarasar, however, said party president Rahul Gandhi had made it clear that he did not hold any grudge against anyone.

PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, MP, too urged the government to immediately release the seven convicts.

He said the Centre should not come in the way of the convicts' release by filing new petitions against it, he said.

Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May, 1991 at Sriperumbudur near Chennai by an LTTE woman suicide bomber, Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.

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Updated Date: Sep 07, 2018 00:11:49 IST


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