The PMK, an ally of the BJP in Tamil Nadu, Thursday urged Governor Banwarilal Purohit to order the release of seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts without any further delay. Pointing out that the Tamil Nadu government had recommended their release on September 9 last year, PMK founder leader S Ramadoss, in a letter to the Governor, said: "it is sad that no decision has been taken yet on the recommendation till today, even after 276 days." There were no legal restrictions to release the convicts and the Governor has "independent powers" on the matter, the PMK leader noted.
Also, Supreme Court judgments in this respect showed that the Governor "has complete authority" under the Constitution to release convicts, he said. While life imprisonment "in practice" was confined to 14 years, Ramadoss said the convicts have been in prison for 29 years since 1991.
Nearly 1,500 people were released after completion of 10 years of imprisonment on the birth centenary celebrations of the late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran, he said. "...in many cases, life imprisonment prisoners have been released much before the completion of their sentence period on the grounds of good conduct." A similar privilege should have been granted to all the seven Tamils imprisoned for life in the Rajiv case on a humanitarian basis, he said.
"Therefore, I kindly urge and request your Excellency to grant an order for the immediate release" of the seven convicts based on the state government recommendation "without any further delay." Perarivalan, Murugan, Shanahan, Nalini, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Jayakumar are the seven Rajiv case convicts now in prison. Last month, the Supreme Court had also disposed of a plea of the kin of those killed along with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, challenging the Tamil Nadu government's 2014 decision to release the seven convicts in the assassination case.
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