Chief Minister Jayalalithaa made it clear that her government will go ahead with the decision of the State Cabinet to release all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, if the Centre failed to respond to its recommendation in three days.

“Whether the Centre responds to our recommendation or not, we will invoke the powers vested with the government and release them,” she said amid thumping of desk by the ruling party members and their allies in the Assembly.

She made these remarks when Puthiya Tamizhagam leader said DMK president M. Karunanidhi was also against death sentence.

“When the DMK was in power he had the opportunity to commute their death sentence. But Mr. Karunanidhi only recommended the case of Nalini, wife of Murugan,” she said.

Earlier in her statement, she said Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan preferred a petition in the High Court against the death sentence, because they came to a conclusion that neither the Centre nor the DMK government would taken any decision on their mercy petition. “When the case was heard in the Supreme Court, the Congress-led UPA government argued against commutation of death sentence.

Responding to DMDK member Alagapuram R., Mohanraj, who sought to argue that the Supreme Court had directed the State government and the Centre to release the three, Ms. Jayalalithaa clarified that the court had only suggested that the government could consider their release.

“After the Supreme Court delivered its judgement I held elaborate discussion and it was followed by the Cabinet meeting. Now the Cabinet has decided to release them,” she said.

CPI (M) whip K. Balakrishnan, CPI floor leader M. Arumugam, Samathuva Makkal Katchi leader R. Sarathkumar and others welcomed the government’s decision.

This copy has been corrected for a factual error.

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