The Centre has rejected the proposal of the Tamil Nadu government to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This is the second time in two years that the State had written to the Centre seeking its views on its decision to remit their sentence. The first letter was sent during the UPA government’s tenure in February 2014.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has told the State that “since the matter is sub judice in Supreme Court, it has no authority to release the prisoners.”
A senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu , “We had sought the Law Ministry’s opinion on the letter sent by the State government. Now we have replied to them that they cannot release the seven prisoners.” On March 2, two days before the model code of conduct came into effect in the State, which goes to the polls on May 16, Chief Secretary K. Gnanadesikan sent the letter to the MHA.
Plea received In a letter to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Mr. Gnanadesikan had said, “The Government of Tamil Nadu has now received petitions from the convicts with requests to release them since they have spent more than 20 years in prison … the Government, after taking into consideration the petitions of the seven convicts, has decided to remit the sentences of life imprisonment as they have already served imprisonment for 24 years.”
The seven convicts are V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A.G. Perarivalan, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.