Chennai: The government has sent the jail records of all the seven Rajiv Gandhi convicts along with the prison department's recommendations to Governor Banwarilal Purohit to back up the communication of the Cabinet recommendation of their release, senior minister D Jayakumar said here Wednesday.
The jail records were meant to show to the Governor that the seven convicts had been maintaining good conduct throughout their 28 years of incarceration following the 21 May 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi at his election rally at Sriperumbudur.
Speaking to reporters here, he reiterated the government desire, which he insisted was in consonance with the sentiments of the entire Tamil people, the minister said, "We are confident the Governor will take a good decision expeditiously".
Disposing off a petition from the Centre, challenging the state government decision to release all these seven convicts, the Supreme Court had on Sept 6 said that the TN Governor under Art 161 of the Constitution was at liberty to decide on the mercy petition from Perarivalan. The TN Cabinet met on Sept 7 under Chief Minister K Palaniswami and passed resolution requesting the Governor to release all the seven under the same Art 161.
There is a raging debate in the various forums if Governor Purohit must, in a mechanical manner sans any independent thought, order the release of the seven convicts or if he must consult legal expert and the Centre. Legal pundits have argued that he cannot decide without referring the issue to the Centre as per Sec 435(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that says the Centre would have to intervene if there is any destruction to property of the Central Government or loss of life of its official. Apart from Rajiv Gandhi, several police officials and security personnel were killed in that blast set off by the LTTE woman suicide bomber.
When a reporter asked him if the state government would be able to cut the tax on fuel, Jayakumar said that could be considered in future when TN receives its pending devolution from the Centre.
To a question on Sterlite Copper moving court for reopening of its plant in Tuticorin, the minister shot back, "Let the company go wherever it wants, we will face it. We shut down the plant in keeping with people's wish".