Release of Rajiv assassins: Tamil people reject this, says Swamy

New Delhi: Condemning Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa for writing to the Centre seeking release of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday said the convicts should not be released on any grounds.

“This is against the nation and the Tamil people reject this; they are all patriotic,” he said. Seven convicts -V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A.G. Perarivalan, T. Suthendraraja, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini – were sentenced to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

All seven have been in prison since 1991. They had appealed for release on the ground that they had completed the life imprisonment period. The Tamil Nadu Government too had written to the Centre seeking their release.

However, according to reports, the state’s plea was turned down by the federal government, stating that the matter was sub judice in the Supreme Court, which had last year commuted the death sentence of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan to life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, lawyer of the one of the convicts Nalini Sriharan M. Radhakrishnan said the state had powers to release the prisoners without the consent of the Centre. “The government of Tamil Nadu has always taken a wrong move.

Such a letter should not have been addressed to the central government. When you have the power under article 161 of the Constitution, why should you ask for central government’s permission? So the move (of) the Tamil Nadu government is fallacious and they are not really interested in these seven live convicts.

Had they been interested in releasing them, certainly, government of Tamil Nadu would have long ago released them under article 161 of the Constitution,” said Radhakrishnan in Chennai. Mother of another assassin Perarivalan, Arputham Ammal, pinned hopes on Jayalalithaa to help in her son’s release.

“I hope that CM (Jayalalithaa) will take some decision in helping in the release of my son despite federal government’s decision. As a mother, I hope, she won’t disappoint me,” said Ammal.

Gandhi was killed on May 21, 1991, when a suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) blew herself up after touching his feet at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

A total of 26 people were found guilty of conspiring to kill Gandhi, but 19 of them were later acquitted amid a wave of sympathy for the killers, who were seen to have been fighting for the Tamil cause in the island nation.

The Supreme Court on December2, 2015 ruled that the Tamil Nadu government could grant remission and release the seven convicts only in consultation with the Central government in cases investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).