BJP Leader opposes move to free former Indian PM’s killers

Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Untitled-1A Leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Subramanian Swamy, yesterday opposed any move to free the assassins of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Gandhi was killed on 21 May 1991, when a suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) blew herself up after touching his feet at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in southern Tamil Nadu state.

Seven convicts – namely V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A.G. Perarivalan, T. Suthendraraja, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini – were sentenced to death in the case. All seven have been in prison since 1991.

They had appealed for release on the ground that they had completed the life imprisonment period. The Tamil Nadu State Government too had written to the Federal Government seeking their release.

However, according to media reports, the State’s plea was turned down by the Federal Government, stating that the matter was sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had last year commuted the death sentence of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan to life imprisonment.

Swamy slammed Tamil Nadu State Chief J. Jayalalithaa and said the convicts should not be released on any grounds.

“This is against the nation and the Tamil people reject this; they are all patriotic Tamil people,” he said in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, lawyer of the one of the convicts Nalini Sriharan, M. Radhakrishnan, said that the State had powers to release the prisoners without the consent of the Federal Government.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu has always taken a wrong move. Such a letter should not have been addressed to the Central Government. When you have the power under Article 161 of the Constitution, why should you ask for the Central Government’s permission? So the move (of) the Tamil Nadu Government is fallacious and they are not really interested in these seven live convicts. Had they been interested in releasing them, certainly, the Government of Tamil Nadu would have long ago released them under article 161 of the Constitution,” said Radhakrishnan in Chennai.

Mother of another assassin Perarivalan, Arputham Ammal, pinned hopes on Jayalalithaa to help in her son’s release.

“I hope that CM (Jayalalithaa) will take some decision in helping in the release of my son despite federal government’s decision. As a mother, I hope, she won’t disappoint me,” said Ammal.

LTTE is a militant political group in Sri Lanka banned in India. The attack on Gandhi was in revenge for his decision to dispatch Indian troops to aid Sri Lanka in its fight against the separatist militant group demanding secession.

A total of 26 people were found guilty of conspiring to kill Gandhi, but 19 of them were later acquitted amid a wave of sympathy for the killers, who were seen to have been fighting for the Tamil cause in the island nation.

The Supreme Court on 2 December 2015, ruled that the Tamil Nadu Government could grant remission and release the seven convicts only in consultation with the Central Government in cases investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).