Chennai, Sep 26: Relatives of 15 persons who died in the blast that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi met Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday and opposed the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to release the remaining seven life convicts in the case.
The seven are Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichanderan. Of these only Nalini, Perarivalan and Ravichandran are Indian citizens. The rest are Sri Lankan nationals.
The victim’s next of kin met the Governor and submitted a petition, two days after Arputhammal, mother of Perarivalan pleaded for his release on the ground that he had been in jail for 27 years.
Nine of the 15 who died that day along with Rajiv Gandhi were policemen. The victims’ families met the Governor under the leadership of Joseph, son of Samdhani Begum, a Congress woman who was killed in the blast at Sripurumpudur on May 21, 1991 when LTTE’s suicide squad member Dhanu detonated her belt bomb. Others, who met the Governor, are the relatives of Inspector of CB-CID Edward Joseph, inspector Rajaguru, and head constable Dharman.
The petitions for and against the release of these seven followed a decision taken by the Tamil Nadu Government to release the seven following a Supreme Court ruling that the Governor should consider the mercy plea of Perarivalan as his power to grant remission or pardon cannot be touched regardless whether a case was investigated by the Centre or the State.
The Centre had opposed the decision taken by the Jayalalitha Government in February 2014 to release all the seven on the ground that as it was a CBI investigated case, the State Government has no power to grant remission. While asking the Governor to consider Perarivalan’s plea, the bench on Sept 6 also disposed of the Centre’s petition against the Jayalalitha Government’s decision.
Following this, the Tami Nadu Cabinet decided to release all the seven and forwarded the resolution to the Governor. While the Governor is bound by Cabinet advice, there is no time limit for him to take a decision. The Raj Bhavan has already clarified that he has not taken it up with Union Home Ministry, but has made it clear that he is consulting experts.