M A I N   N E W S

TN Govt to free all Rajiv killers

Chennai, February 19
The Tamil Nadu Government today decided to set free all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three of them to life term.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced the decision in the Assembly, triggering celebrations by pro-Eelam supporters in several places. She said the decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting held this morning.

The Supreme Court had yesterday commuted the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan (both Sri Lankan Tamils) and AG Perarivalan citing delay in considering their mercy pleas by the Centre.

The state government set a three-day deadline for release of seven convicts, including Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, who are undergoing life sentence.

Jayalalithaa said she consulted legal experts on SC’s observation that state could consider their release. She said her government would send the Cabinet proposal to the Centre as mandated under Section 435 of the Cr.PC seeking its nod for release of convicts and asserted if there was no response within three days, the government would invoke powers vested with it under Section 432 of the CrPC and release all seven convicts.

"Whether they respond or not (in three days), accept (the proposal) or not, we will release them under the powers vested with the state government," she said.

Her announcement was welcomed by all parties in the Assembly barring the Congress. — PTI


It’s sad, says Rahul; Cong slams Jaya
Tribune News Service & PTI

Lucknow/New Delhi, February 19
The Congress today slammed the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to release former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s killers as party vice-president Rahul Gandhi said he was saddened by the move.

The Centre will examine the state government's move to set free all seven convicts in the case before taking any view, said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

In Amethi, Rahul wondered how the killers of a former PM could walk free. “I am personally against the death penalty but this is not about my father. If a former Prime Minister, who sacrificed his life for the nation, does not get justice then what could a common man hope for? This is something to ponder over,” he said.

AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi sought to draw a line between commutation of a sentence by the court and remission of convicts by state governments. "Every state has powers of remission but these are the powers which are to be exercised by Constitutional functionaries in the light of rules and the spirit of the judicial order,” Singhvi said. “This decision fails to take into account the scourge of terrorism and the spirit of the Constitution,” he said.

Shinde said it was first important to examine the letter which the state government will sent to us. "Since morning, I have been enquiring about the letter. But so far no letter has come. Once the letter comes, we will examine and take appropriate action," said Shinde.

MoS (Home) RPN Singh termed the state government's decision as "wrong and extremely unfortunate".

Under Section 435 of the CrPC, the state government has to seek the Centre's nod for release of the convicts.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |