Free Press Journal

Rajiv assassination: Parties hail move to free convicts


Chennai: Leaders of several political parties welcomed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Responding to the state government’s decision Wednesday to release them, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said: “The centre has to give its sanction. I hope it gives it.”

He, however, said the decision could have been taken in 2011 itself.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa announced in the assembly her government’s decision to set free all the seven convicts – V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Nalini, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran.

Thanking the state government, MDMK leader Vaiko said it was a humane and appreciable decision.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu president Pon Radhakrishnan said there was nothing wrong in releasing the convicts.

Similarly, CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member D.Raja lauded the government decision.

According to PMK leader S. Ramadoss, the government should ensure a peaceful life for the convicts after their release.

He also demanded the release of slain forest brigand Veerappan’s elder brother Madaiyan, now in Coimbatore jail.

Echoing him was Thol Thirumavalavan, leader of VCK and Lok Sabha member who urged the Karnataka government to release the four associates of Veerappan.

The Supreme Court last month commuted their death sentence.

Meanwhile, legislators belonging to the Congress party in Tamil Nadu wanted to register their protest against Jayalalithaa’s announcement. As they were not allowed to speak, they walked out of the assembly in protest.

Congress legislator Vijayadharani said the seven convicts should not be released as it would pave way for terrorism and extremism in the country.

Elated over the decision to release his son Perarivalan, an emotional Kuilnathan told a television channel that he did not have words to express his feelings.

He said Perarivalan should be with his parents during their last days and expressed his gratitude to Jayalalithaa.

Perarivalan’s mother Arputhammal met Jayalalithaa here and thanked her for the decision.

Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated May 21, 1991. The conspirators were convicted by a TADA court in January 1998 and awarded death sentence. Upon appeal, the Supreme Court confirmed death for four, commuted the sentence for three and released 19 others.

The death sentence of Nalini, wife of Murugan, was commuted some years back on her mercy petition.