SC orders release of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers; Cong slams ruling
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday set free Nalini Sriharan, R P Ravichandran and four others serving life sentences in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Supreme Court frees killers of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, Congress says decision unacceptable and erroneous
A bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna said the judgment of the top court in the case of A G Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case, is applicable in their matter.
Strongly criticising the apex court’s decision, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the grand old party finds it wholly untenable.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to free the remaining killers of Rajiv Gandhi is unacceptable and completely erroneous. It is most unfortunate that the Supreme Court has not acted in consonance with the spirit of India on this issue,” he said.
Earlier on May 18, the apex court invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution, ordered the release of Perarivalan, who had served over 30 years in jail.
Sriharan, Ravichandran, Santhan, Murugan, AG Perarivalan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar were sentenced to life terms and they have spent over 23 years in jail.
Both Sriharan and Ravichandran have been on parole from December 27 last year till date as sanctioned by the state government under the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules, 1982, based on their request.
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu government had favoured the premature release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts Sriharan and R P Ravichandran, saying its 2018 advice for remission of their life sentence is binding upon the governor.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally.
In its May 1999 order, the apex court upheld the death sentence of four convicts Perarivalan, Murugan, Santhan and Sriharan.
However, in 2014, it commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment along with those of Santhan and Murugan on grounds of delay in deciding their mercy petitions.
Sriharan’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2001 on the consideration that she has a daughter.