Rajiv convicts cannot be released: Centre to TN

Rajiv convicts cannot be released: Centre to TN

Rajiv Gandhi

Contrary to reports that the President had rejected the Tamil Nadu government's request to release the convicts of Rajiv Gandhi assassination, it was the Modi government that decided to not reverse UPA's stand on the issue.

Officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs said a communication in this regard was sent to the Tamil Nadu government on April 18. Tamil Nadu government officials also confirmed the receipt of the letter.

"...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 sentence to these seven convicts," the letter signed by Joint Secretary V B Dubey "by order and in the name of the President of India".

In 2014, Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution to release the convicts — Murugan, A G Perarivalan, Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini — after Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. The state government later said it is going ahead with the release of the convicts as the Centre did not respond positively to it.

As the state government moved in this direction, the Centre approached the Supreme Court saying the state has no right to commute the sentence as the particular case was investigated and prosecuted by central agencies. The Supreme Court also upheld the Centre's view.

The state government once again approached the Supreme Court on the issue. On the directions of the Supreme Court to settle the issue, the MHA had in February asked Tamil Nadu to provide certain details to take a final call on its application to pardon these convicts and release them. The details included the cases registered against them.

In the second communication in 2016, the state government said that it had received letters from the families of these convicts and after going through their petitions, it felt to release them and requested the Centre to give its nod, as it is required under Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.