New Delhi, Feb 18 IBNS | 10 months ago

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M Karunanidhi on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court's order on commuting the death sentence to lifer of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's killers.

"I congratulate them and request the central government to release them by considering the prison time that they have already served," Karunanidhi said in a statement.

"I wrote many letters to Prime Minister through TESO conference and also issued many statements, finally DMK's 10th conference held at Trichy was urged. The SC verdict which give relief for Santhan, Perarivalan and Murugan's commutation of death sentence gives the right to live," he said.

"The DMK has been urging for many years that death penalty should be abolished. On recommendation of SC, the central government and state government should release them because they have already spent many years in jail. I would be double happy if they are release," said the former Tamil Nadu chief minister.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday commuted the death sentence of Rajiv Gandhi's killers to life in prison.

The three convicts, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, had sought the commutation of their death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam pronounced the verdict and granted them mercy.

The bench had reserved their verdict on their plea on Feb 4.

Santhan, Perarivalan and Murugan are in prison for over two decades.

The Centre had earlier opposed commuting their death sentence to life imprisonment.

Rajiv Gandhi, the sixth Prime Minister of India, was killed at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, India on 21 May 1991. At least 14 others were also killed.

His assassination was carried out by Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, also known as Dhanu, who was found after investigations to be a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber.

(Posted on 18-02-2014)

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