Invoking remission powers vested with the state, the Tamil Nadu Government today decided to release all the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, including Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, whose death penalty was commuted by the Supreme Court.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the State Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at the State Secretariat here.
In a statement in the Assembly, Ms Jayalalithaa said the State Cabinet, which met this morning, decided to immediately release Suthenthiraraja alias Santhan, Sriharan alias Murugan and Perarivalan by invoking Sec 432 of CrPc considering that they have been languishing in jails for 23 years.
She said the meeting also decided to release four other life convicts Murugan’s wife Nalini, whose death penalty was commuted to life following the intervention of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Robert Pius, Jayakumar and Ravichandran from prison as they have also been incarcerated for the last 23 years.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a woman suicide bomber during an election meeting at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. Ms Jayalalithaa said while commuting the death sentence of the three convicts yesterday, the Apex Court had observed that the state government could exercise its powers under Secs 432 and 433-A of the CrPC.
The state cabinet, she added, decided to invoke Sec 432 of the CrPC and release them taking into consideration that they had already spent 23 years in jail.
Ms Jayalalithaa said since the TADA court had convicted the seven on the basis of the investigation by the CBI, the state government
would send the decision of the Cabinet to the Centre as per Sec 435 of the CrPC.