Congress on Monday said that it will to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the early release of six convicts in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, PTI reported.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the party is yet to decide whether it will file an intervention application in the review petition already filed by the Centre, or move a separate plea.
On November 11, the Supreme Court had granted early release to convicts Nalini Sriharan, Robert Pais, Ravichandran, Suthenthira Raja, Shriharan alias Murugan and Jaikumar. All of them were serving life sentences.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna held that the order passed to release another convict AG Perarivalan was applicable to the six other convicts also. Perarivalan had been released in May.
The court had also noted that the Tamil Nadu government had recommended the release of the convicts, but that the governor did not act on the recommendation. The judges observed that the convicts had spent more than three decades behind bars, and that their behaviour in prison was satisfactory.
On November 18, the Centre filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision, contending that the order was passed without hearing its side. The Centre said the convicts had not made the Union of India a respondent in their plea despite it being a “necessary and proper party” in the matter.
After the Supreme Court passed its verdict, the Congress had criticised the Supreme Court’s order saying it was “unacceptable and erroneous.”
The party had also said that the review petition filed by the Centre was “a case of belated wisdom”.
“BJP government has been blatantly apathetic towards this case,” Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal had said. “What’s the point in locking the door after the horse has bolted!”
Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed in Sriperumbudur near Chennai on May 21, 1991, when an operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam detonated her RDX-laden belt.
The LTTE was seeking revenge for the Indian government’s decision to send troops to Sri Lanka to help the island nation fight Tamil separatists.
In 1998, a court had sentenced 26 people to death for the conspiracy to kill the former prime minister.
A year later, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of only four of them – Nalini Sriharan, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. In 2000, Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.