Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. (File)
The Tamil Nadu Cabinet on Sunday passed a resolution recommending the release of the seven convicts in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, two days after the Supreme Court put the ball in the court of the Governor to take a decision on the matter. The proposal will now be sent to the office of Governor Banwarilal Purohit. The convicts — V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santham, A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, P Ravichandaran and Nalini have been in jail for 25 years.
“Tamil Nadu cabinet recommends release of seven convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The recommendation will be sent to the TN governor immediately,” ANI quoted state minister D Jayakumar as saying after the Cabinet meeting in Chennai, which was chaired by Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
In March 2016, the Tamil Nadu government had proposed to release the convicts and sought the Centre’s views on the issue. However, last month, the Centre told the Supreme Court that remission of their sentence would set a “dangerous precedent” and have “international ramifications”. On Thursday, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Naveen Sinha and KM Joseph disposed of the Centre’s petition opposing the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal for the release of the convicts and asked the Governor to consider the mercy petition of Perarivalan.
Perarivalan, who was charged with supplying a 9-volt battery that was allegedly used for the belt bomb that had killed Gandhi and 14 others, had said that he had filed the mercy petition seeking remission or pardon from the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution.
Though the apex court had asked the Governor to consider the plea of Perarivalan, the government decided to recommend setting free all others also as they had also sought premature release, Jayakumar said.
The Cabinet also demanded that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa be accorded the Bharat Ratna and the Chennai Central railway station be rechristened as MG Ramachandran Central railway station. In August, the AIADMK government had renewed its demand for conferring Bharat Ratna on its late supremo Jayalalithaa and also sought the country’s highest civilian honour for late Dravidian stalwarts EV Ramasamy ‘Periyar’ and CN Annadurai.
with the Express Morning Briefing