Former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday expressed surprise over clamour from some quarters demanding execution of the Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru, saying it was "politically motivated".
"There are 30-35 files pending (mercy petitions). Why do you single out Guru?" Patil asked while talking to media on a private visit to Aurangabad.
"Why this desperate hurry in the case of Guru? The files of those involved in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case too are still pending," Patil added.
Patil, who resigned after the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks, alleged that the whole issue of Afzal Guru's death sentence was being politicised.
Patil also asked whether killing men was an act of valour. "We have not sent Afzal Guru to Pakistan. He is in a jail in India," Patil said.
Taking a dig at the opposition parties, Patil, without naming the BJP-led NDA government, said that they had released Azhar Masood, head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, who is now in Pakistan.
Masood was set free in return of the release of an Indian Airlines flight with several passengers on board, which had been hijacked by the militants.
Meanwhile, leaders of BJP and Shiv Sena have reacted sharply to Patil's statement saying that his statement sought to play down the heinous crime of Guru and the sentiments of Indian people on the issue.