Rest of Asia

Tamil Nadu CM urges president to release convicts in Rajiv Gandhi case

Filed on May 20, 2021
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. — ANI

MK Stalin, in a letter to Ramnath Kovind, says the seven convicts had already suffered untold hardship and agony in the past three decades

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday urged President Ram Nath Kovind to accept the State Government’s recommendation in September 2018 and pass orders to remit the life sentences of all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

In the letter, Stalin asked the president to direct their immediate release and argued that the convicts have been ‘undergoing the agony of imprisonment for about three decades’.

The letter mentioned the convicts — S Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, AG Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, and P Ravichandran.

The chief minister pointed out the original death sentences of Nalini and three others had been commuted by the Supreme Court to life imprisonment.

“The majority of political parties in Tamil Nadu have been requesting the remission of the remainder of their sentences and for the immediate release of all the seven convicts... This is also the will of the people of Tamil Nadu,” the letter read.

He further reminded that the same had been requested by the Tamil Nadu government on September 9, 2018.

“The purported obstacle for exercise of the power of remission was the pendency of the investigation by the Multi-Disciplinary Monitorung Agency of CBI,” the chief minister wrote, adding that it has been clarified by the respective stands of the Union Government and CBI before the Supreme Court that there is no connection between the remission of the sentence and investigation.

He further said that the seven had already suffered ‘untold hardship and agony in the past three decades’ and had paid a ‘heavy price’.

“There has already been an inordinate delay in the consideration of their pleas for remission,” he wrote, mentioning that in the present Covid-19 pandemic situation, courts were also recognising the need to decongest prisons.

Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally.

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