Delay in hearing Rajiv killers' plea wrong: Jethmalani | india | Hindustan Times
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Delay in hearing Rajiv killers' plea wrong: Jethmalani

india Updated: Aug 30, 2011 11:28 IST

Hindustan Times
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Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani argued today that the mercy petition of the assasins of Rajiv Gandhi was rejected by the President after 11 years and four months.

"Earlier if delay was beyond two years death would be committed to life. This rule was changed," Jethmalani said.

The delay is prima facie wrong and a notice seeking explanation should be sent, he added.

"It takes just 30 seconds to take a man from his cell and pronounce him dead. Imagine a 11-year wait."

"We need speedy disposal."

The Madras high court on Tuesday is hearing petitions filed the three convicts facing the gallows for their involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The three convicts on Monday moved the Madras high court to stay their September 9 hanging.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko and advocate N Chandrasekaran filed the petition on behalf of the condemned prisoners - Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan.

The petition will be heard by justice Paul Vasanthakumar on Tuesday.

On Aug 11, President Pratibha Patil rejected the mercy petitions of the trio, linked to the LTTE and sentenced to death for involvement in the 1991 assassination.

A woman suicide bomber blew herself up, killing Gandhi, prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989, at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai May 21, 1991.

Apart from Gandhi, 14 others also lost their lives in the blast.

In 1998, all the 26 accused in the case - including the three - were sentenced to die by a special trial court for Gandhi's killing.

In 1999, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences of four: Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan and Nalini, an Indian woman who had assisted the killer squad. The capital punishment of the others was reduced to varying terms of imprisonment.

The death sentence of Nalini, who became a mother in prison, was commuted to life imprisonment after her mercy petition was accepted. The petition had the recommendation of Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi's widow.

Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan and the others were charged with criminal conspiracy that led to the killing.

Soon after the confirmation of their sentence, they made a mercy plea to the President, which was rejected Aug 11.