Releasing the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case will have “international ramifications” and will set “dangerous precedents”, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday while rejecting the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to free the accused.
“The central government, in pursuance of section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, does not concur to the proposal of the government of Tamil Nadu contained in its communication letter dated March 2, 2016 for grant of further remission of sentence to these seven convicts,” Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Joint Secretary V B Dubey said, while responding to a 2016 letter by the Tamil Nadu government, seeking the Centre’s concurrence on releasing the seven convicts.
Emphasising that the trial court had given “cogent reasons” for imposing death penalty upon the accused and the apex court had termed the assassination an “unparallel act”, the government said, “… Releasing the four foreign nationals who had committed the gruesome murder of former prime minister of this country, along with 15 others most of whom were police officers, in connivance with three Indian nationals will set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future.”
The government submitted the document to a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph who adjourned the matter.
The Centre’s reply came after the top court, on January 23, had asked it to take a decision on the letter by the Tamil Nadu government. In its letter, the Tamil Nadu government said it had already decided to release the seven convicts but sought the Centre’s concurrence as per an apex court order of 2015.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.
(with inputs from PTI)