President Kovind rejects TN government’s proposal to release Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins

President Ramnath Kovind has rejected the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to release the seven convicts serving sentences for former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. According to a report in The Hindu, the President has conveyed to the Tamil Nadu government that the Centre does not agree with their views on the matter.

The Tamil Nadu state government has written to the centre twice for the release of the seven convicts ‘on humanitarian grounds’. The Hindu quoted a government officials saying that the President has rejected the proposal after consulting with the Home Ministry and this has been conveyed to the state. The official added that the assassins of a former Prime Minister cannot be allowed to walk free.

The seven convicts are Nalini Sriharan, V Sriharan (Murugan), AG Perarivalan, T Suthendraraja, Jayakumar, Robert Pious and Ravichandran. Earlier in 2014, the convict Nalini had moved to the Supreme Court seeking mercy release for having served more than 14 years in jail. The SC had rejected the mercy plea. Nalini was initially awarded death sentence which was commuted to life imprisonment by the governor of Tamil Nadu in April 2000.

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This year too, Nalini’s release plea was rejected first by the Madras High Court, following which the convicts had moved to the Supreme Court which had directed the Home Ministry to seek details of the physical and mental health, socio-economic backgrounds and criminal history.

The Supreme Court had stated earlier that the state government has no power to release the convicts without the nod of the central government.

MP and legal activist Subramanian Swamy has welcomed the President’s decision.

According to reports, the Centre has filed a report before the Supreme Court regarding the investigation being carried out on the conspiracy aspect behind the former PM’s assassination. Convict Perarivalan had claimed that certain aspects regarding the making of the bomb, missing security files and murder of journalist Rajinder Kumar Jain were not being probed in this matter.

Former PM Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bombing attack while interacting with the public in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.

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