Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who took the decision for early release of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers at an emergency Cabinet meeting convened this morning over the issue, made a suo motu announcement in the state Assembly.
 
The announcement, which brought cheers on the faces of convicts and their families, was hailed by Opposition parties, barring Congress.
       
Jayalalithaa said in compliance with the Sec 435 of CrPc, the state would send the Cabinet’s decision to the Centre seeking its nod for the release as the CBI filed the case against the convicts.

"If there is no reply within three days from the Centre, the state government will release all the seven under CrPc section 432 in accordance with the powers vested with it", she declared.
 
While members from the opposition parties thanked the Chief Minister for her gesture in deciding to release all the convicts, Congress's J D Prince stood up and made certain remarks, which Speaker V Dhanpal expunged.

John Jacob and N R Rangarajan (both Congress) were heard saying something, but the Chair refused permission stating that any statement made under Rule 110 of the House did not entail members to seek clarifications. The three Congress members later trooped out of the House.

Majority of political parties in the state had demanded immediate release of convicts in the backdrop of Supreme Court observation that the state can consider their release.
     
Arputhammal, the mother of Perarivalan, who had relentlessly campaigned for about 23 years seeking her son's release, had exuded confidence of the state freeing her son from the prison.

Jayalalithaa told the Assembly that soon after the Supreme Court judgement, she held a discussion with legal experts on the issue on Tuesday. She said she summoned the Cabinet meeting today at which the decision to release all the seven were taken.
    
"Considering that they have spent over 23 years in prison, the Cabinet decided to immediately release Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan under the powers vested with the state government under Section 432 of CrPC. Likewise, it was also decided to release life convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, who too have spent 23 years in prison," Jayalalithaa said.

However, since the case was filed by the CBI before the TADA court, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet's decision has to be referred to the Central government under Section 435 of CrPC.
    
"Hence, the Cabinet's decision to release Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran would be sent to the Central government immediately," the Chief Minister said.
    
"If the Central Government did not respond to the Cabinet reference within three days, then the state government invoking powers vested with it under Section 432 of CrPC, will release Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran," Jayalalithaa said.

Ridiculing the DMK's demand to the state government to release Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, Jayalalithaa blamed the previous Karunanidhi regime in 2000 for rejection of mercy petitions of convicts by the Governor and also by the President.
    
"Had the then government considered the plea of the convicts for clemency and recommended it to the Governor, it could have taken a Cabinet decision on it. But, such a thing did not happen," she said.
    
Jayalalithaa also recalled the state Assembly resolution in 2011 seeking the President to commute the death penalty awarded to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins to life sentence.
    
"Though the DMK was part of the UPA alliance for one and a half years since the resolution was passed, Karunanidhi did not pursue the issue with the Centre," she charged.

(Agencies)

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