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Tamil Nadu government to free Rajiv killers

New Delhi, Feb 19 : A day after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's killers to life in prison, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday decided to release all the seven convicts in the case.


Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's Cabinet met on Wednesday morning and decided to free the seven convicts a day after the court had left it to the state government to grant them remission.

The convicts, to be freed, include AG Perarivalan, Nalini, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday commuted the death sentence of former Prime Minister 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 other one to be freed-Murugan's wife Nalini Sriharan's-death sentence had been commuted earlier on the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi's widow, Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

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.

Gandhi's 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.

--IBNS (Posted on 19-02-2014)

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