The issue of the subsequent trial and conviction of his killers, which keeps cropping up repeatedly around elections, has been an emotive subject in Tamil Nadu.
Banwarilal Purohit, the Tamil Nadu Governor, will take a decision on the release of seven people convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi “within three to four days”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court today. The apex court, while hearing the case regarding the release of convicts, had earlier expressed unhappiness over the Governor’s tardiness on the issue.
Two years ago, the Tamil Nadu government had recommended the premature release of all the seven convicts in the 1991 assassination case of then Prime Minister.
Governor didn’t decide on the TN cabinet recommendation for more than two years.
AG Periavalan, one of the convicts, had approached the Supreme Court in 2016 seeking release from jail till MDMA completes its probe.
However, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the committee, had told the Supreme Court that it is still investigating the larger conspiracy behind the former Prime Minister’s assassination.
“We don’t want to exercise our jurisdiction at this stage, but we are not happy that the recommendation made by the government is pending for two years,” the SC bench, which was hearing the case, had responded.
On May 21, 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperambudur. The issue of the subsequent trial and conviction of his killers, which keeps cropping up repeatedly around elections, has been an emotive subject in Tamil Nadu.
The Central government, no matter which party was in power, has opposed the release of Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham, Nalini Sriharan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran over the years. The convicts are serving life terms in various jails across Tamil Nadu.
The Central government, in August 2018, had told the Supreme Court that the killers of Rajiv Gandhi cannot be released. Calling the assassination a “most heinous and brutal crime”, the Union home ministry said it would “set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future”.