Written by Staff Writer
20 Feb, 2014 | 11:14 am
The Centre has petitioned the Supreme Court asking it to reconsider its order sparing three men convicted of killing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi from execution, a move that is expected to stall Tamil Nadu’s plan to free seven convicts in the case.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also likely to give a statement soon.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced that she would release all the convicts in the case and gave the Centre three days to respond, after which, she said, she would use her powers to do so.
The Centre’s lawyer, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, today told Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam that the convicts’ release must be on hold till the court decides on the review petition against its order commuting the death sentence of three of them, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, to life term.
Mr Parasaran also argued that Tamil Nadu can’t decide on releasing the convicts unilaterally since Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination was investigated by a central agency, CBI, under a central law, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act or TADA.
Rajiv Gandhi’s son Rahul, the Congress vice president, said yesterday that he was saddened by the decision to free his father’s killers. “I am personally against death penalty. But if a Prime Minister’s killers are being set free, what justice can the common man expect?” he said.
Soon after, the ruling party condemned the Jayalalithaa government’s decision as “perverse, irresponsible and populist.”
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday left it to the state to decide on freeing the convicts, who have been in jail for 23 years.
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