Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to accept a September 2018 Cabinet decision for remission of life sentences awarded to seven convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and release them forthwith.
Stalin called for the release of convicts S Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, AG Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and P Ravichandran, through a letter to the President, which was handed over by DMK Parliamentary Party Leader TR Baalu to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“These seven persons have already suffered untold hardship and agony in the past three decades and have paid a heavy price. There has already been an inordinate delay in the consideration of their pleas for remission. In the present circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts are also recognising the need to decongest prisons,” he said in his letter.
, a copy of which was released to the media.
“The majority of the political parties in Tamil Nadu have been requesting for the remission of the remainder of their sentence as they have been incarcerated for about three decades. It is also the will of the people of Tamil Nadu,” the Chief Minister said. He pointed out that the death sentence originally awarded to Nalini was commuted under Article 161 of the Constitution, while the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of three other convicts to life term.
On September 9, 2018, the Tamil Nadu government had recommended to the Governor for remitting the life sentences of all seven convicts. The purported obstacle for exercise of the power of remission was the pendency of the investigation by the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency of CBI. “It has been clarified by the respective stands of the Union government and CBI before the Supreme Court that there is no connection between the remission of the sentence and investigation,” he said.
Mr Stalin said the Governor had taken the stand that the President was the competent authority to decide on the plea of remission.