Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit will have to consult the Centre before taking any decision to release the seven convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case as he has "no such powers", officials said on Tuesday.
Officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs said the Governor has to consult the Centre in cases where investigation was carried out by the CBI or any other central agency to release or commute the sentence.
The Tamil Nadu government had on Sunday recommended the release of the convicts to the Governor under provisions, which it claimed gave the Raj Bhavan the powers to act on it without consulting the Centre.
Officials said under Section 435, the state government will have to act only after consultation with the central government to remit or commute a sentence.
In April, a letter signed by Joint Secretary V B Dubey "by order and in the name of the President of India" has said, "...the Central government, in pursuance of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 do not concur to the proposal of the Government of Tamil Nadu contained in their communication letter dated 02.03.2016 for grant of further remission of sentene to these seven convicts." This came following Tamil Nadu approaching Supreme Court
On August 10, too, the Centre had opposed in the Supreme Court the proposal of the Tamil Nadu government to release the convicts.
The Supreme Court had earlier said in a judgement that the state government cannot remit sentence of any convict in cases probed by a central agency and the Centre's approval is mandatory for releasing the killers of Rajiv Gandhi as the case was probed by the CBI.