A resolution to this effect was adopted by the Cabinet at its meeting headed by chief minister K Palaniswami.
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Cabinet on Sunday recommended to governor Banwarilal Purohit to release all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case by invoking his powers under Art 161 of the Constitution, which gives the Governor the authority to pardon someone proved guilty in court.
A resolution to this effect was adopted by the Cabinet at its meeting headed by chief minister K Palaniswami. “This will be sent to the Governor immediately. You can see our urgency by the fact that the Cabinet met on a Sunday”, fisheries minister D. Jayakumar told reporters at the Secretariat shortly after the two-hour Cabinet meeting in the evening.
“The governor has to necessarily accept the Cabinet recommendation, he has no other choice”, said the minister when asked if there could be some delays or hiccups in the Raj Bhavan. “We have used Article 161 and recommended to the Governor on that basis. Supreme Court interprets the law and its direction is of vital importance”.
A reporter asked minister Jayakumar if it was alright to release the convicts involved in the brutal killing of an ex-PM. “All that is past. The CBI probe and investigation is past. What is present? The Tamil people want their release”, shot back the minister. The seven convicts — Murugan alias Sriharan, Nalini Sriharan, Santhan, A.G. Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran, Robert Payas — have been in jail for the last 27 years amid several mercy petitions, court hearings, political rallies and human rights campaigns for their release. Perarivalan’s mother Arputhammal, who has been fighting relentlessly through the years for his release, choked with emotion while expressing gratitude to the government as she faced the TV cameras soon after meeting CM Palaniswami with a bouquet of flowers.
The Sunday cabinet initiative was inspired by the Supreme Court directive to the TN Governor on Thursday to consider the mercy plea of Perarivalan and take a decision as “deemed fit”. The AIADMK government decided to stretch the relief to cover not just Perarivalan but all the seven.
The cabinet resolution was welcomed by almost everyone in the state.