“Release of convicts who killed ex-PM will set a dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future,” the Union Home Ministry had said in the letter
THE Centre on Tuesday informed the Madras High Court it has two years ago rejected a Tamil Nadu Government’s proposal of March, 2016 for release of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case as it would set a “dangerous precedent”. Noting that the CBI, which probed the case, had also opposed the proposal, the Centre in its April 18, 2018 letter to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary had said in pursuance of section 435 of CrPC it do not concur to the proposal for grant of further remission of sentence to the seven convicts.
Release of the four foreign nationals who had committed the gruesome killing of a former Prime Minister along with 15 others in connivance with three Indians will set a “dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future,” the Union Home Ministry had said in the letter. Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan submitted a copy of the letter to a bench of Justice R Subbaiah and Justice R Pongiappan during the hearing of a petition by Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts, claiming that she was illegally detained in Vellore Prison as the State Cabinet has recommended the release of her and others.
Taking note of the letter, the bench impleaded the Union Home Secretary as a respondent and directed the official to file a counter affidavit by January 28 and adjourned the matter till then. The convicts are V Sriharan, T Suthendraraja, Jayakumar Robert Payas (all Sri Lankans), A G Perarivalan, Ravichandran and Nalini. All the seven were convicted by a special TADA court for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 during an election rally at Sriperumbudur near here and sentenced to death but later it was commuted to life imprisonment. The Union Home Ministry’s communication was in response to a March 2, 2016 letter by the State Government conveying its decision to remit the sentences of life imprisonment and to release the seven convicts since all of them have already served imprisonment for 24 years.