TN orders release of Rajiv killers

TN orders release of Rajiv killers

 The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday ordered the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a day after the Supreme Court commuted the capital punishment of three of them to life imprisonment.

Besides Santhan, Murugan (husband of another convict Nalini) and Perarivalan, who were spared the gallows by the apex court, other life convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran may also walk out from jail.

A decision to release the convicts from the Vellore Central prison within three days was taken at an emergency meeting of the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister J Jayalalitha at the state secretariat here. The Cabinet also set a three-day deadline for the Centre to communicate its decision.

Later, making a statement under Rule 110 in the Assembly, Jayalalitha said the Cabinet, which met on Wednesday morning, decided to immediately release T Suthenthararaja alias Santhan, V Sriharan alias Murugan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu by invoking Section 432 of CrPC considering that they have been languishing in jails for 23 years.
She said the meeting also decided to release four other life convicts – Murugan’s wife Nalini, whose death penalty was commuted to life following the intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran from prison as they have also been incarcerated for the last 23 years.

Jayalalitha noted that while commuting the death sentence of the three convicts, the apex court had observed that the state government can exercise its powers under Sections 432 and 433-A of the CrPC.

She said since the TADA court had convicted the seven accused on the basis of an investigation by the CBI, the state government would send the decision of the Cabinet to the Centre as per Section 435 of the CrPC.

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