The Tamil Nadu state cabinet has decided to recommond the Governor for the release of all seven people serving time for their roles in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.Gandhi, 46, was killed on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at an election rally.
Convicts Perarivalan, V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santham, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, P Ravichandaran and Nalini have been in jail for 28 years for their role in the Congress leader’s killing. “Tamil Nadu cabinet recommends release of 7 convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The recommendation will be sent to the TN governor immediately,” Minister D Jayakumar said.
Earlier, reacting to the Supreme Court direction to Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan as per the law, Jayakumar said the state government is committed to their release. The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the state government has powers to release the seven convicts. Leaders of various political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the main Opposition DMK, PMK, Left parties and MDMK, hailed the apex court order.
During late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s tenure, a resolution was passed in the state legislative Assembly seeking the release of the convicts. In the last four years, the Tamil Nadu government has written twice to the Union Home Ministry to pardon the convicts and release them on humanitarian grounds but it has been rejected.