Stalin urges President to release seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

The Tamil Nadu CM points out that the convicts have been undergoing the agony of imprisonment for about three decades.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind requesting him to accept the State Government’s recommendation in September 2018 and pass orders to remit the life sentences of all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. He also urged that the convicts S. Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, A.G. Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and P. Ravichandran be released immediately.

DMK MP T.R. Baalu handed over the letter from Mr. Stalin to the President’s Office on Thursday.

In his letter to the President, which was released by the government to the media, Mr. Stalin pointed out that the convicts have been undergoing the agony of imprisonment for about three decades. "These seven persons have already suffered untold hardship and agony in the past three decades and have paid a heavy price. There has already been an inordinate delay in the consideration of their pleas for remission. In the present circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts are also recognising the need to decongest prisons," he contended.

He also recalled that Nalini’s original death sentence was commuted under Article 161 of the Constitution, while the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of other three convicts to that of life imprisonment. "The majority of the political parties in Tamil Nadu have been requesting for the remission of the remainder of their sentence and for immediate release of all the seven convicts as they have been incarcerated for about three decades. It is also the will of the people of Tamil Nadu," Mr. Stalin said.

On September 9, 2018, the Tamil Nadu government had recommended to the Tamil Nadu Governor for the remission of the rest of the sentence for all seven convicts and their early release. The purported obstacle for exercise of the power of remission was the pendency of the investigation by the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency of CBI, he said and pointed out: "It has been clarified by the respective stands of the Union government and CBI before the Supreme Court that there is no connection between the remission of the sentence and investigation."

The Governor has decided that the President was the competent authority to decide on the plea of remission of sentence of these seven persons and had forwarded the State government’s recommendation to the President’s office, Chief Minister Stalin pointed out.

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