Centre reiterates its stand that convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case cannot be released without its approval

The Centre has reiterated its stand in the Madras High Court that the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case cannot be released without its approval. A petition by one of the convicts Ms Nalini seeking her early release as per the State Cabinet recommendation came up for hearing yesterday.

The Additional Solicitor General, ASG, Mr G.Rajagopalan said the state cabinet recommendation will have zero-effect without the Centre’s consent. He also referred to the apex court order in a case filed earlier by the convicts which says the Centre’s concurrence for their release is necessary as the case was investigated by the CBI, a central agency.

The State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan also agreed with the Additional Solicitor General saying, some of the offences by the accused come under the Central Act and therefore, any commutation or remission of sentences requires the Centre’s permission. Meanwhile, the counsel for Ms Nalini contended that the resolution passed by the state Council of Ministers in September 2018 for the release of the convicts was binding on the Governor.

To this, the ASG said the Cabinet resolution is only of the nature of a recommendation to the Governor. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during an election rally at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991. Seven of the accused in the case were convicted by a special TADA court and were sentenced to death, which was later was commuted to life imprisonment.

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