The Centre, on Friday, rejected the Tamil Nadu government's proposal to release seven killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the same was communicated to the Supreme Court. The Centre said that the proposal to set Rajiv Gandhi's assassins was not acceptable.
"The releasing of killers of former PM Rajiv Gandhi will set a very dangerous precedent. The case has been decided by various forum of judiciary and executive and the prisoners do not deserve to be set free. The Centre, in pursuance of section 435 of the Criminal Procedure Code does not concur with the proposal of Tamil Nadu government for grant of further remissions of sentence to seven convicts," said the Centre to the Supreme Court.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand and lawyer Rajesh Ranjan, appearing for the Centre told a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the government has taken a decision on the state government’s proposal to release the assassins. The Tamil Nadu government's decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, following which the court asked for the Centre's opinion.
"Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was the most heinous and gruesome crime, the brutal act brought the Indian democratic process to a grinding halt in as much as the general election to the Lok Sabha and the convicts do not deserve any leniency," said the Centre.
The Supreme Court was told that the CBI, which investigated the case, has opposed the release of the convicts. Earlier, in 2015, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court judges mentioned that the convicts cannot be released without the consent of the Central government. The Supreme Court had, on 18th February, 2014, commuted the death sentence of three convicts — Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan — citing inordinate delay by the executive in deciding their mercy plea.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of 21st May, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a female suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed. V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santham, A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, P Ravichandaran and Nalini have been in jail for 25 years.