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Centre yet to decide on Tamil Nadu govt plea to free Rajiv Gandhi’s killers

The Narendra Modi government has turned down Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to free seven killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. This is the second time in 2 years that the proposal has been rejected by the Centre.
India TV Politics Desk April 20, 2016 13:05 IST
India TV Politics Desk

New Delhi: The Central government is yet to decide on a plea put forth by the Tamil Nadu government seeking the release of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi killers.

According to a report in First Post, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has denied reports that it turned down the state government’s proposal regarding the same. Earlier this morning, reports were doing the rounds that the Centre has already rejected Jayalalithaa government’s request to free all 7 prisoners saying ‘since the matter is sub judice, it has no authority to take a decision in the case’.

The First Post report quoted MHA officials as saying that ‘no decision has been taken yet on the proposal and consultations with the Union Law Ministry were still underway’.

The seven convicts are V Sriharan alias Murugan, his wife Nalini Sriharan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, AG Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran.

This is not the first time that the state government has approached the Centre seeking its views on its decision to remit the sentences of the convicts. The Jaya government had first written to the erstwhile UPA government in February 2014 on the same issue.

The state government, in its letter to the Centre, said that ‘it has decided to remit the sentences of life imprisonment and to release the seven persons, since all the seven have already served imprisonment for 24 years’.

The letter was written after the state government received petitions from the convicts with request to release them considering the years they have already spent in the prison.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that the Jayalalithaa’s government’s move was ‘anti-national’ and that the Chief Minister was playing with ‘national interest’.

"There is no scope whatsoever for even considering their release as they have already got their capital punishment set down to life imprisonment and they can only get one release for the lifetime. You can't change it time and again from life imprisonment to death sentence being free for whole life," he said.

In 1999, the Supreme Court found the seven guilty of conspiring to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.