Chennai: The State government on Thursday expressed its commitment to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and said it would take a decision after going through the Supreme Court order on a plea by one of them.
“It is the stand and desire of late Amma (former CM J. Jayalalithaa) that all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assasination case should be released. Our government is firm on releasing them. A decision in this regard would be taken after receiving the Supreme Court order,” State Law Minister C. Ve. Shanmugam said reacting to the apex court's order directing the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of A G Perarivalan, one of the seven life convicts in the case.
Speaking to reporters here, the Minister said Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami would take a decision after a thorough study of the Supreme court's judgment and after consulting legal experts.
Expressing in similar vein, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said the government was committed to releasing the seven life convicts.
“There is no second opinion on this,” he added.
A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Naveen Sinha and K M Joseph disposed of the Centre’s petition regarding a Tamil Nadu government's proposal for the release of the convicts. The Centre had on August 10 told the apex court that it does not concur with the Tamil Nadu government's proposal to release the seven convicts, saying remission of their sentence will set a “dangerous precedent” and have “international ramifications.” Perarivalan, 47, had told the apex court that no decision had been taken as yet on his mercy petition filed before the Tamil Nadu Governor on December 30, 2015 seeking remission or pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution.
Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal expressed joy over the ruling and appealed to the state government to take steps for the expeditious release of her son and six others too.
Hailing the court order, DMK president M K Stalin said the state Cabinet should be convened and a resolution adopted facilitating the release of all the seven convicts.
Noting that late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi had appealed for their release several times, he said “all of them should be released immediately.”
TNCC chief Su Thirunavukkarasar, however, struck a different note. “The death of Rajiv Gandhi on Tamil Nadu soil is still a wound in the hearts of the people," he told reporters in New Delhi. He, however, said party president Rahul Gandhi had made it clear that he did not hold any grudge against anyone.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, MP, too urged the government to immediately release the seven convicts.
He said the Centre should not come in the way of the convicts' release by filing new petitions against it. The CPI, CPI (M) and VCK too hailed the verdict.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur near here by an LTTE woman suicide bomber....