Congress criticises SC verdict; DMK, VCK, PMK, Left welcome convicts’ release

Published - November 12, 2022 12:32 am IST - CHENNAI

Even as the Congress described the release of six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case as totally unacceptable and completely erroneous, its allies in Tamil Nadu – the DMK, the VCK and the CPI(M) – welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.

VCK chief Thol. Thirumavalavan said the judgment underlined two important aspects. “It reiterates that the State government has all the rights to reduce the sentence by invoking Article 161 of the Constitution. The State government must use the right bestowed on it to release prisoners who have been serving jail terms for a long time and have exhibited good behaviour, provided they are eligible for release. Also, the Tamil Nadu Governor must understand the extent of his powers and not delay signing Bills passed by the State Assembly,” he said.

CPI(M) State secretary K. Balakrishnan said the assassination of the former Prime Minister and others was a sad event, but there had been calls to release the convicts based on the fact that they had served their time in prison for a very long time.

Deposed AIADMK coordinator O. Panneerselvam said former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s objective had been fulfilled with the release of the six convicts.

PMK founder S. Ramadoss said the release of the convicts gave him joy, and pointed to their good behaviour and the improvement in their educational qualifications.

“The release of six convicts is based on the resolution passed in the State Assembly on September 9, 2018. If the then Governor had accepted it, these convicts would have been freed back then. Their release was delayed by four years,” he said.

‘End to drama’

Welcoming the verdict, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said the Supreme Court had put an end to the “drama” enacted by the Governors and established that justice will always triumph.

Tamil Maanila Congress leader G.K. Vasan said the verdict would be a shock to the families of those who died along with the former Prime Minister, and said neither can the assassination be forgotten nor can the assassins be pardoned.

Former interim general secretary of the AIADMK, V.K. Sasikala, said she was deeply satisfied and happy with the Supreme Court verdict.

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