Consider mercy plea of Rajiv Gandhi's killer, SC tells TN Governor

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of A.G. Perarivalan, who is serving a life term in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Perarivalan's counsel told a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Naveen Sinha and Justice K.M. Joseph that a decision was yet to be taken on his mercy petition pending for over two years.

He submitted the plea to the Governor on December 30, 2015, saying he had undergone more than 24 years of solitary/single confinement.

Perarivalan, among the seven convicts in the case, had sought remission/pardon from the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution.

After the court asked the Centre to take a call on Tamil Nadu's proposal to release the convicts, the central government said on August 10 in its report submitted in the court that it did not agree, holding that setting them free will set a "dangerous precedent".

"Releasing the killers of a former Prime Minister will set a very dangerous precedent. The case has been decided by various forums of judiciary and executive and the prisoners do not deserve to be set free," the Centre contended.

Releasing them will lead to "international ramifications" by other such criminals in future, it added.

The now-vanquished Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka was blamed for the Congress leader's assassination by a suicide bomber at an election rally near Chennai on May 21, 1991.