President Ram Nath Kovind informed Tamil Nadu that the Centre does not concur with the view of the state.

President Kovind declines TNs request to release Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts
news Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case Friday, June 15, 2018 - 11:05

Twenty-seven years after they were convicted for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the request of the Tamil Nadu government to release them on humanitarian grounds.

According to one report in The Hindu, the President who is tasked with granting the final assent on mercy petitions, informed the Tamil Nadu government that the “Centre doesn’t concur with its view” to release the prisoners.

According to reports, the President rejected the request on the advice of the Home Ministry.

The newspaper reports that the President is bound by the advice of his Council of Ministers in such matters.

On Monday, the Central government sought details of the convicts from the state government. The Centre had asked for a detailed report on the release with specific details such as the physical and mental status of the convicts, their economic and social background as well as the sentence they have already undergone.

The release of the seven prisoners has been a matter of contention between the state and the Centre. In 2014, late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to the Union government asking for their release.

The Supreme Court had stayed the release of the prisoners by the state twice, citing procedural lapses on the part of the Tamil Nadu government. The Tamil Nadu government had already commuted the death sentences of Murugan, Santhan and Arivu to life imprisonment.

In March 2016 too, Tamil Nadu presented the petitions of the convicts before the Supreme Court. The prisoners had stated that they had already served 20 years.

In January this year, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court gave the Narendra Modi administration three months to decide on Tamil Nadu’s request for release.

The seven prisoners are AG Perarivalan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.

Also read: Tracing Rajiv’s final steps: How PTI reported on the assassination that changed India

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