Governor breaks silence on Rajiv Gandhi case convicts

By NT Bureau Published on Sep 15, 2018 01:20 PM IST

Chennai: Breaking silence on the release of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts, Tamilnadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit today refuted media reports which claimed that he had sent a 'report' to the Union Home Ministry in connection with the case.

A statement from the Raj Bhavan, the Governor's office here, said,”A section of the media has been reporting that in the matter of the release of the convicted prisoners undergoing life imprisonment for involvement in the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, a reference has been made to the Ministry of Home Affairs, government of India. Some television

channels have been conducting debates on this assumption. It is clarified that no reference has been made to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the matter.”

Stating that the case is a complex one and involves the examination of legal, administrative and Constitutional issues, it said the records which are voluminous are being received from the State government, with the connected judgments having been handed over to Raj Bhavan on 14 September only.

“All efforts will be taken to process the papers scrupulously. Necessary consultation may be carried out, when required, in due course. The decision will be taken in a just and fair manner and in accordance with the Constitution,” the statement from Purohit's office concluded.

Earlier this week, the Tamilnadu Cabinet recommended to the Governor the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case under Article 161 of the Constitution.

While State ministers maintained that the Governor has to give his assent for the release of the convicts, but a time frame cannot be set, Tamilnadu Congress Committee president S Thirunavukkarasar and a few others opposed the release of the convicts.

Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had said that already the death sentence against these convicts had been commuted to one of life imprisonment. “Now, they want another concession that is not allowed as per law.”

The convicts-Nalini, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Sriharan alias Murugan (Nalini’s husband), A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Robert Payas, S Jayakumar alias Jayakumaran, and Ravichandran alias Ravi-have been in jail for over 27 years. Santhan, Murugan, Payas and Jayakumar are Sri Lankan Tamils.

Under Article 161 of the Constitution, the President of India and the Governors of States have been given the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute sentences.