The Tamil Nadu Cabinet on Sunday recommended the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, ANI reported. The proposal will be sent to Governor Banwarilal Purohit, minister D Jayakumar told reporters in Chennai.
The state government’s recommendation came three days after the Supreme Court told Purohit to consider the mercy petition of AG Perarivalan, who is among the seven convicted for the former prime minister’s murder. Apart from Perarivalan, the other convicts are V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.
On August 10, the Centre told the top court that it was against the state government’s petition to release the convicts and said it would set a “dangerous precedent” and have “international ramifications”.
Perarivalan’s mother Arputhammal on Sunday said the chief minister had “assured her” that the governor would accept the recommendation, ANI reported. “Very soon all the 7 convicts will be free.”
In June, President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the state government’s request to release the prisoners. Two months later, Perarivalan, 47, wrote to the top court saying no decision had been made on his mercy petition to the Tamil Nadu governor filed in December 2015.
Perarivalan, who was charged with supplying a nine-volt battery allegedly used in the bomb that killed Gandhi and 14 others, told the Supreme Court he has endured more than 24 years of solitary confinement. “As per jail rules, life imprisonment at ground level is only for a maximum of 20 years and thereafter the prisoner is considered for release,” his letter said. “Now I have already undergone more than life imprisonment.”