The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday informed the Madras High Court that it has rejected two years ago a Tamil Nadu government’s proposal dated March 2016 for release of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case as it would set a “dangerous precedent”. Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan also informed the High Court that the prosecution agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also objected to the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision and disagreed in pursuance of section 435 of CrPC that it does not concur to the proposal for grant of further remission of sentence to the seven convicts.
Release of the four foreign nationals (from Sri Lanka) who had committed the gruesome killing of a former prime minister along with 15 others in connivance with three Indians will set a “dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future,” the Union Home Ministry had said in the letter. Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan submitted a copy of the letter to a bench of Justice R Subbaiah and Justice R Pongiappan during the hearing of a petition by Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts, claiming that she was illegally detained in Vellore Prison as the state cabinet has recommended the release of her and others.
The Union Home Ministry’s communication was in response to a March 2, 2016 letter by the state government conveying its decision to remit the sentences of life imprisonment and to release the seven convicts since all of them have already served imprisonment for 24 years.
The Home Ministry’s letter said that the trial court had given cogent reasons such as the diabolical conspiracy, the use of female human bomb and several lives lost in the incident among others to justify the death penalty awarded to the accused. Later, on hearing an appeal, all three judges of the Supreme Court had highlighted the conspiracy and the horrific nature of the crime and held that the case fell under the category of rarest of rare cases (warranting death penalty), it said.
The CBI has also opposed the state government’s proposal to release the convicts, citing the interest of justice. “Therefore, the central government in pursuance of section 435 of CrPC do not concur to the proposal of the government of Tamil Nadu… For grant of further remission of sentence to these seven convicts,” the letter said.
Centre’s bold decision has now closed the decades’ long covert ways by the accused to get released. Many agencies were using devious steps and covert ways for the release of LTTE assassins. Many Dravidian parties and even certain Congress leaders from Tamil Nadu like tainted P Chidambaram were supporting the release of the accused. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had many times approached the Centre against the release.
[with PTI inputs]
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