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Rajiv assassination case adjourned

Chennai: The Madras High Court today adjourned to November 29 the hearing on the petitions by death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking commutation of capital punishment.

When the petitions by the three came up for hearing, MDMK leader Vaiko told the court comprising justices C Nagappan and M Sathyanaranan that a petition seeking transfer of the case to another High Court outside Chennai was pending before the Supreme Court.

The bench adjourned the hearing to November 29. On August 30, the court had stayed for eight weeks the execution of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan admitting their pleas for commuting their death sentence to life term. The stay came as a major relief for the three convicts as their execution was then fixed for September 9 after President Pratibha Patil turned down their mercy pleas.

The Supreme Court had on September 15 issued notices to the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the three convicts on a plea for transferring the case out of Madras High Court. The petitioner L K Venkata had pleaded that the petition before the Madras High Court be taken up by the apex court or any other high court for further hearing.

Alleging that several LTTE supporters are interfering with the judicial function by raising slogans in support of the three convicts, he had submitted that their petition cannot be heard by the High Court in a free and fair atmosphere.

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The three, lodged in Vellore jail, were convicted and sentenced to death in the case relating to the assassination of Gandhi during an election rally at Sriperumpudur on May 21, 1991 by an LTTE suicide bomber.

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