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Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: Tamil Nadu slams Congress-led UPA govts

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said Tamil Nadu has been wrongly accused of taking a "political, arbitrary and whimsical" decision.Trashing accusations that its decision to release seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts
rajiv gandhi assassination case tamil nadu slams...
PTI August 05, 2015 7:26 IST

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said Tamil Nadu has been wrongly accused of taking a "political, arbitrary and whimsical" decision.

Trashing accusations that its decision to release seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts was "political and arbitrary", Tamil Nadu on Tuesday wanted to know in the Supreme Court why Congress governments at the centre delayed the decision on their mercy pleas that led to commutation of their death sentence in the first place. "Why UPA-I and UPA-II did not hang the killers of Rajiv Gandhi in ten years of its rule?" the counsel for Tamil Nadu asked a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.

The bench, also comprising Justices F M I Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and U U Lalit, is going into the maintainability of the Centre's petition opposing Tamil Nadu government's decision to set free the convicts after remitting their life sentences in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. 

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said Tamil Nadu has been wrongly accused of taking a "political, arbitrary and whimsical" decision.

"Politics is not the dirty world. All political parties said don't hang them. People, all MLAs, opposition were against the hanging," he said. 

"How could it be ignored that none from the opposition raised objection," he said, adding that the Central government, which did not take a decision on their mercy pleas during 2000-2012, cannot accuse the state dispensation of arbitrariness. 

"You listen, consider the mercy pleas, and do not hang them. Then you are merciful. When we do this, then it becomes arbitrary and whimsical," Dwivedi said. 

The apex court had on June 28 rejected the curative petition of the Centre against the commutation of death penalty into life imprisonment of three convicts in the case.

The review pleas, challenging the commutation of death penalty to life term of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, were dismissed by the court in February last year on the ground of 11-year delay in deciding their mercy petitions.

The three convicts are lodged in a Vellore prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.

During the day-long hearing, Dwivedi said the state is empowered to consider changes in "factual and material circumstances" of the case and the convicts.

 

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