Plea on Rajiv case convicts' commutation of death sentence

DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Saturday urged the AIADMK government to have a resolution adopted by the State Cabinet, seeking commutation of the death sentence awarded to the three convicts - Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan - in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

In a statement here, he expressed shock over the order of the Supreme Court that long delay by the President or the Governor in disposing mercy petitions convicted under anti-terror laws could not be a ground for commutation of death sentence.

“At a time when there is a debate all over the world on the desirability of continuing with death sentence, the order of the Supreme Court has come as a blow to all those who have been awarded death sentence,” he said.

He also cited the editorial of The Hindu that “the Supreme Court has lost an opportunity to invoke the sound legal principle that prolonged delay in disposal of mercy petitions could be a key ground for commuting death penalty.” He said the State government should not think that its responsibility was over after passing a resolution in the Assembly. “The Cabinet should meet and adopt a similar resolution and send it to the Governor for commutation of death sentence and their release,” Mr Karunanidhi said in a statement. The DMK government had adopted a resolution in the Cabinet in favour of Nalini, another convict in the assassination case, and the Governor commuted the death sentence, he recalled.

Mr Karunanidhi said the DMK had also succeeded in commuting the death sentence of Thyagu and Kaliaperumal and Mr. Thyagu had proved his worth by becoming a well known writer and publisher. “We should also make use of the talents of the three accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination,” he said.

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