The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government in Tamil Nadu has decided to release the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The government forwarded its recommendation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Sunday.
The decision to release the seven convicts was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters that the decision was taken after the Supreme Court asked Purohit to consider the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan, serving life term for the 1991 assassination of Gandhi, for release under Article 161 of the Constitution.
The other six are V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini Sriharan, wife of Sriharan alias Murugan. They include both Indians and Sri Lankans.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, Arputhammal, the mother of AG Perarivalan met Palaniswami and said that she received assurance that the state government’s recommendation will be accepted by the Governor.
“I met Tamil Nadu CM today. He assured me that Governor will surely accept our recommendation and very soon all the seven convicts will be free. We thank this government which has paved the way for the release,” she told reporters on Sunday night.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May 1991 at Sriperumbudur near Chennai by an LTTE woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at an election rally.
Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was blamed for the assassination of Gandhi. The Sri Lankan military crushed the LTTE in 2009.