The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday asserted that her government would face it legally, responding to the Centre moving the Supreme Court seeking direction to Tamil Nadu not to release four convicts, including Nalini.

“We are aware of that. The Centre has already written to us. We will counter it in court,” she said.

When her attention was drawn to the allegations that her government’s decision to set free seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was a “political move”, she said, “The matter is in court. It is sub-judice. We shouldn’t be discussing it in a press conference”.

“Whatever we have to say, we will inform the court through our counsel”, she said, declining to reveal details of the defence the state would be taking on the convicts release, which the UPA government had blocked seeking Supreme Court intervention.

On February 19, Ms. Jayalalithaa announced in the state assembly her government’s decision to release all the seven convicts, a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three of them -- Murugan, Santhan and A G Perarivalan -- to life.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said her government would consult the Centre on the release and “if there is no response within three days, it will set them free”.

However, the decision came in for severe flak from Congress, including its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, whose father Rajiv Gandhi was victim of the LTTE suicide bomb blast on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur.

The Centre filed a petition on February 20 before the Supreme Court challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision and the court stayed the release of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan.

On Monday the Centre filed another application seeking stay on release of four other convicts, including Nalini, whose death penalty had already been commuted to life in 2000.

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