Home minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday hit out at the opposition on the issue of mercy petitions, saying while 16 cases had been decided by the President during his tenure, not even a single plea was cleared during the NDA rule when LK Advani was heading the ministry.
"LK Advani referred 14 cases of mercy petitions to the President in his six years as home minister. Not one was decided. It was zero out of 14 in six years," Chidambaram told PTI outside Parliament House.
He maintained that Advani's successor Shivraj Patil referred back those 14 cases and another 14 mercy petitions during his tenure.
"Out of these 28 mercy petitions sent by Shivraj Patil, then president APJ Abdul Kalam decided on two cases," Chidambaram said.
Referring to his own record, the home minister said he referred back the remaining 26 mercy petitions and another five to the President.
"Of these 31 cases, President Pratibha Patil has taken decisions on 16 mercy petitions in just three-and-a-half years," Chidambaram said, adding that the allegation against the UPA sitting on mercy petitions was not based on facts.
As per the rules, the President is guided by the advice of the government of the day while taking a call on mercy petitions.
Chidambaram parried questions on Afzal Guru, who was given death sentence in 2004 by the Supreme Court in the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack case. His mercy petition is pending.