A-combination-picture-of-Murugan-Santhan-and-Perarivalan-convicts-in-the-Rajiv-Gandhi-assassination-case-Agencies-photo
A-combination-picture-of-Murugan-Santhan-and-Perarivalan-convicts-in-the-Rajiv-Gandhi-assassination-case-Agencies-photo

Jayalalithaa’s mercy politics gives Rajiv killers their freedom

The killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi will soon walk free, Tamil Nadu declared on Wednesday, a heavily political decision that angered Congress but is likely to win votes for the state's ruling party. Rahul says he is sad Rajiv Gandhi's killers will walk free
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Chennai/new Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 20, 2014 02:15 AM IST

The killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi will soon walk free, Tamil Nadu declared on Wednesday, a heavily political decision that angered Congress but is likely to win votes for the state's ruling party.

The seven convicts to be let go from Vellore prison include three -- Santhan, Perarivalan and Murugan -- whose death penalty was commuted to a life term by the Supreme Court on Tuesday on the grounds that the central government had taken too long to decide on their mercy pleas. The court had left a decision on remission of the sentences to the state government. The Rajiv files

Read:Jaya’s move only for political gains

Chief minister J Jayalalithaa announced the release after an emergency cabinet meeting, and promptly gave the Centre a deadline to accept her proposal. This could set her on a collision course with the union home ministry, which, a senior source said, was in no hurry to comply.

"'The state government will send the Cabinet's decision to the Centre. If the Centre fails to respond in three days, my government will release them immediately under the power conferred on it by the Constitution,' the CM told the state assembly, adding that it was mandatory for the state to consult Delhi because the case had been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Read:Families of those who died with Rajiv seek answers

Rajiv's son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, speaking in Amethi, said he was saddened by the decision. " I am personally against the death penalty but this is not about my father. If a Prime Minister's killers are being released, what kind of justice should the common man expect?" he said.

"The Congress Party condemns the decision," chief spokesman Ajay Maken said in a statement, adding that "it was guided solely by political considerations to suit sectarian vested interests".

Watch:Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: TN govt to release convicts

But a measure of how emotive the Sri Lankan Tamil issue still is in Tamil Nadu (TN), and how much of an electoral hot potato, could be gauged by the reaction of finance minister P Chidambaram, a Tamilian, who told NDTV that he was "not unhappy" with the decision.

The seven were jailed after the 1991 assassination of Rajiv by a Sri Lankan suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur near Chennai. The killers owe allegiance to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist movement that targeted Rajiv because he sent Indian troops to help quell their revolt in India's island neighbour.

Hurdles to their release could come from the home ministry.

Read:Rajiv Gandhi killers' commutation must not be politicised

“We have not received any correspondence from the state in this regard but section 435 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is very clear that any case investigated by a central agency under a central law, in this it was TADA, cannot go ahead for remission or commutation of sentence with consulting the Centre. Besides the law says there was a need to a have separate commutation order from the Centre as well,” said a senior-level source.

The mother of Perarivalan, the lone Indian among the three main accused, said she was "very happy" at the TN decision.

Read: Rajiv case convicts Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan rejoice at SC ruling

"Amma (Jayalalithaa) is very considerate about the pain of another mother. She has put an end to my pain,' Aruputhammal told PTI news agency. Perarivalan topped a diploma examination and earned a gold medal in a desk top publishing course in the jail last year.

Underscoring the bitter rivalry in state politics, Jayalalithaa, who heads the ruling AIADMK, accused her main opposition, the DMK -- a one-time ally of the Congress in the Centre -- of dragging its feet on the commutation despite the TN assembly adopting a resolution seeking commutation of the death sentence two and a half years ago.

Read:Will India abolish death penalty?

'Even though the DMK was part of the Congress-led UPA, it did not press the Centre to take a decision,' she charged.

The death sentence of one of the convicts, Murugan's wife Nalini, was commuted to life in 2000 after Congress president Sonia Gandhi recommended her case on humanitarian grounds.

Rahul says he is sad Rajiv Gandhi's killers will walk free

Vaiko, the leader of another state party, MDMK, extended his 'heartiest congratulations and gratitude to the Tamil Nadu government.' He has been a campaigner for the cause of the convicts.

(with agency inputs)

Read:HT Poll finds majority not in favour of Tamil Nadu releasing Rajiv Gandhi's assassins

Read:Release Rajiv Gandhi assassins, demands Karunanidhi

Read: Rajiv Gandhi assassin's mother happy at SC verdict

Read: Govt to abide by SC decision in Rajiv Gandhi case, says Sibal

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
A low-intensity device exploded outside the Israel embassy on January 29.(HT Photo/Sanjeev Verma)
A low-intensity device exploded outside the Israel embassy on January 29.(HT Photo/Sanjeev Verma)

Iran guided Israeli embassy blast through local module, upsets India: Officials

PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 07:02 AM IST
The bomb that went off outside the Israeli embassy on January 29 was not a crude device. Investigators have found that it was triggered by a local module using a remote and could have been put together using the deadly PETN or ANFO. The final lab reports are awaited.
Close
A senior citizen lost his life on Tuesday in a road accident. The victim, identified as Vasudev Anandram Chijwani (65) was a resident of Kumar Prasanna society, Wanowrie.(REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
A senior citizen lost his life on Tuesday in a road accident. The victim, identified as Vasudev Anandram Chijwani (65) was a resident of Kumar Prasanna society, Wanowrie.(REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Truck collides autorickshaw in Maharashtra; 5 killed, eight injured

PTI, Beed
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 06:43 AM IST
All the deceased, including two children, were travelling in the autorickshaw to Beed from Wadvani tehsil when the truck rammed into it around 8 pm, a police official said.
Close
Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has been entrusted with the task of Ram temple construction in Ayodhya.(REUTERS file photo)
Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has been entrusted with the task of Ram temple construction in Ayodhya.(REUTERS file photo)

Ram Temple likely to be ready in 3 years, says Trust

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 06:27 AM IST
Earlier on Saturday, Rai, had said the door-to-door collection drive for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya has stopped, but devotees who missed the contribution drive can still make their contributions through the trust website.
Close
He said that in light of recent developments, the CM had lost credibility and he is not fit to continue in power.(ANI Photo)
He said that in light of recent developments, the CM had lost credibility and he is not fit to continue in power.(ANI Photo)

Amit Shah attacks CM over gold smuggling case

By Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:40 AM IST
  • Addressing the concluding session of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Surendran’s “Vijay Yatra” in the state capital, Shah posed five questions to the CM.
Close
MK Stalin said he aspired to bring Tamil Nadu among the top three agricultural states in terms of cash crops.
MK Stalin said he aspired to bring Tamil Nadu among the top three agricultural states in terms of cash crops.

DMK finalises seat-sharing deal with seven allies in TN

By Divya Chandrababu, Hindustan Times, Trichy
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:37 AM IST
  • Addressing a state conference for its cadres on the outskirts of Trichy, Stalin said a DMK government will give 1,000 every month to housewives and create a million jobs every month.
Close
Tewari, one of the 23 leaders who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking internal reform in the party, addressed the Kerala meeting at the invitation of the Congress’s ally, Indian Union Muslim League.
Tewari, one of the 23 leaders who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking internal reform in the party, addressed the Kerala meeting at the invitation of the Congress’s ally, Indian Union Muslim League.

After Jammu G23 meet, Tewari hits campaign

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Tmes, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:17 AM IST
  • The meeting came a week after Tewari and other letter writers, the group has been tagged the G23, addressed a meeting in Jammu in honour of retired MP Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Close
In Puducherry, where the party lost power weeks ago, 70 people have hit the ground with the same goal.(PTI)
In Puducherry, where the party lost power weeks ago, 70 people have hit the ground with the same goal.(PTI)

Over 300 people try to gauge mood for Cong in TN, Kerala

PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:12 AM IST
  • In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is in alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK).
Close
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified by the Centre as the six regions that have seen a rise in new cases in the recent weeks.(REUTERS)
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified by the Centre as the six regions that have seen a rise in new cases in the recent weeks.(REUTERS)

6 states continue to record spike in Covid cases: Centre

By Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 06:04 AM IST
  • The observations from the Union health ministry come a day after the country reported the largest single-day increase in new Covid-19 infections in two months.
Close
Union minister Smriti Irani addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Union minister Smriti Irani addresses a press conference, in New Delhi. (PTI)

‘Women are not pleading, they are leading’: Smriti Irani

By Vinod Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:53 AM IST
  • Smriti Irani says, "I’m the only female politician who’s also recognised by her former vocation. I recognise the bias in that."
Close
Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that the second half of the session, which starts on Monday, may run for just two weeks.(PTI)
Another senior official said on condition of anonymity that the second half of the session, which starts on Monday, may run for just two weeks.(PTI)

2nd half of Budget session may be cut short due to state polls

By Saubhadra Chatterji, Sunetra Choudhury, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:40 AM IST
  • An official said that both Houses could meet at 11 am from the second week following the vaccination of eligible MPs.
Close
Bodies of the man and his son were found in the house while the bodies of the three woman were found near the house, the official added.
Bodies of the man and his son were found in the house while the bodies of the three woman were found near the house, the official added.

Five of family found dead in Chhattisgarh

By Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times, Raipur
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:27 AM IST
  • A suicide note found at the spot said they took the decision because of acute financial distress, an official said.
Close
Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.(REUTERS)
Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.(REUTERS)

Govt plan to take over mine auctions faces opposition from a few states

By Chetan Chauhan, Gerard de Souza, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Goa
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:21 AM IST
  • The changes have been opposed by some states who see it as another attempt by the Centre to take over mining auctions and impose central rules on a state domain.
Close
India must rapidly build and nurture grassroots-based habitat monitoring and governance.(Representational Photo/HT File)
India must rapidly build and nurture grassroots-based habitat monitoring and governance.(Representational Photo/HT File)

India must strive to catch the ecological bus

By Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 06:02 AM IST
  • A re-invigorated biodiversity management policy is India’s survival strategy. At this point in our development trajectory, we don’t pay any heed to either biodiversity or landscape conservation.
Close
Satellite image of NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System of forest fires.(Courtesy- NASA)
Satellite image of NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System of forest fires.(Courtesy- NASA)

Early summer, lack of rain spark fires

By Jayashree Nandi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:10 AM IST
  • According to Forest Survey of India’s forest fire alert system, there were 2,317 fire points last year between February 26 and March 7, but the figure rose to 53,211 this time after data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) was taken into account.
Close
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain in a Tamil Nadu village(Representative Image )
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain in a Tamil Nadu village(Representative Image )

Woman, 32, mother of two rappels down 155-feet mountain blindfolded in 58 sec

ANI, Kancheepuram
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:54 PM IST
The record was entered in the UNICO Book of World Records and was certified by an official adjudicator R. Sivaraman.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP