Home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday steered clear of the controversy over Tamil Nadu Assembly asking the President to reconsider mercy pleas of Rajiv Gandhi's killers but made it clear that the UPA could not be blamed for delays in processing mercy pleas.
"Since there are court proceedings, I can't comment on anything concerning the decision taken by the President or the resolution passed by the Assembly," Chidambaram said.
The minister gave a detailed presentation on mercy petitions of death row convicts, pointing out that none of the 14 pending mercy petitions were decided during the six years of NDA.
"After UPA was formed, my predecessor (Shivraj Patil) resubmitted the 14 cases and submitted 14 more cases... Two cases were decided out of 28. So, that explains roughly 10 years and a few months," he said. Chidambaram said he had inherited 26 cases. As desired by the President, he re-examined all cases and resubmitted 23 to the President for decision.
"The President's decision was received in 13 cases. I think in UPA-II, we have done our best to clear the arrears that had accumulated and tried to take the process forward."
"I don't think we could do anything faster. In about two years and three months, we have resubmitted 23 cases and got decisions in 13 cases. Now, these are the facts. Law etc., etc., are to be argued at the appropriate forum....," he said.