M A I N   N E W S

‘save the trio’ chorus gets louder
Madras HC stays hanging of Rajiv killers for 8 weeks
TN Assembly passes resolution, urges Prez to review mercy pleas

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991

Chennai, August 30
The hanging of the three men sentenced to death for conspiring to assassinate former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was stayed for eight weeks by the Madras High Court here today, coinciding with the Tamil Nadu Assembly passing a unanimous resolution asking President Pratibha Patil to review the mercy petitions.

Hearing the petitions filed by Murugan (alias Sriharan), T Suthendraraja (alias Santhan) and AG Perarivalan (alias Arivu) that their death sentence be commuted, the high court ordered an interim stay on the hanging pending disposal of the case.

The court has ordered notice to the Union Government returnable in eight weeks. On August 11 this year, President Pratibha Patil rejected the mercy petitions of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, all linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and sentenced them to death for their involvement in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

Rajiv Gandhi, who was the Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989, was killed by a suicide bomber called Dhanu at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, on May 21, 1991. Fourteen other persons also lost their lives in the blast.

The Tamil Nadu Assembly also moved a resolution asking the President to review their mercy pleas and commute the death sentence to life imprisonment.

Citing concern of the people of Tamil Nadu and the appeals by various political parties, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said the resolution was moved on behalf the state government.

The clemency petition was rejected by the President after 11 years and the delay is prima facie wrong, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani said while arguing for Perarivalan. He said a notice seeking explanation for the delay should be sent.

Jethmalani had earlier said that if there was a delay of two years, the death sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment.

“Perhaps the delay in deciding on the mercy petition made the high court grant the stay. The Rajiv Gandhi assassination case is one of the rarest of rare cases where death sentence is warranted,” political commentator Cho Ramaswamy said. — IANS

Political parties hail HC order

Chennai, August 30
Political parties in Tamil Nadu have welcomed the Madras High Court order staying the execution of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and adoption of a resolution by the state Assembly appealing to the President to reconsider their mercy pleas.

The CPI has put on hold its proposed fast on September 3 to press its demand for commutation of the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. CPI state secretary D Pandian has thanked CM and members of the Assembly for passing the resolution requesting President Pratibha Patil to reconsider the clemency petitions of the three convicts.

Principal opposition in the Assembly, the DMDK has also welcomed the adoption of the “unanimous resolution”.

MDMK leader Vaiko, who has been in the forefront of the campaign for commuting the death sentence of the three, said the entire Tamil community was “rejoicing” over the high court order and thanked Jayalalithaa for her initiative in the assembly. — PTI

Resolution not binding: Khurshid

NEW DELHI: The resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly asking President Pratibha Patil to review the mercy petitions of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s killers was not binding, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday. “The state government resolution is not binding on anyone,” he said. About the court decision, he said, “I cannot interfere with any high court decision.”





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