Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to release all the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case by accepting the September 2018 State government resolution recommending their release.
In a letter to Kovind, which was handed over to him by DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu, he urged the President to pass orders to remit the life sentences of all the seven convicts–S. Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, A.G.Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Pyas and P.Ravichandran–and order their immediate release.
Pointing out that the convicts have been undergoing the agony of imprisonment for about three decades, he said 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.
Recalling that Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life under Article 161 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court had committed the death sentence of three other convicts to life, Mr Stalin said a majority of political parties in Tamil Nadu have been requesting for the remission of the remainder of their sentence and for the immediate release of all the seven convicts as they have been incarcerated for about three decades.
”It is also the will of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he added.
On September 9, 2018, the State Government had recommended to Governor Banwarilal Purohit seeking for the remission of the rest of the sentence for all seven convicts and their early release, he pointed out.
”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.”
The Governor has decided that the President was the competent authority to decide on the plea of remission of sentence of these seven persons and had forwarded the State government’s recommendation to the President’s office, Stalin said.
”I therefore request the President to kindly accept the recommendation of the State government dated September 9, 2018 and pass appropriate orders to remit the life sentence of all the seven convicts and direct their release immediately”, he said.