TN government decides to recommend release of Rajiv Gandhi killers

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday decided to recommend to Governor Banwarilal Purohit the release of seven convicts serving life term for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami.

Jayakumar told reporters that the decision was taken after the Supreme Court asked Purohit to consider the mercy petition of A.G. Perarivalan, serving life term for the 1991 assassination of Gandhi, for release under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Jayakumar said though the apex court had given its order in the petition filed by Perarivalan, the state government had decided to recommend to the Governor his release as well as six other convicts as they had also sent their mercy petitions.

The other six are V. Sriharan alais Murugan, T. Suthendraraja alais Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini Sriharan, wife of Sriharan alias Murugan. They include both Indians and Sri Lankans.

All seven have been in prison since 1991, the year a woman Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew up Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai.

Jayakumar said the Supreme Court was the highest court and the cabinet decision was taken based on the basis of its decision.

He said the Governor had to agree with the cabinet decision.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was blamed for the assassination of Gandhi. The Sri Lankan military crushed the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

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