No death for Rajiv Gandhi killers, Supreme Court dismisses curative petition
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the curative petition of the Central Government upholding the commutation of death sentence of three convicts involved in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.
The apex Court had earlier said that it was essential for the convicts to suffer and realize the victim’s pain through ‘ slow poison’ and asked the Centre if a governor can take a decision over the mercy plea of any convict whose petition has been declined by the President.
Earlier, the Centre had asserted in the Supreme Court that the killers of Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.
“Our former Prime Minister was killed by these people. There was a conspiracy to kill him in which foreign nationals were also involved. What mercy is to be seen or shown? This is to be looked by you (apex court). Their mercy plea was rejected by the President and also by the Governor (of Tamil Nadu). So what mercy is being argued?” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar had told a bench a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.
Among the seven convicts, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Robert Pious and Jaya Kumar were Sri Lankan nationals while female convict Nalini, Ravichandran and Arivu are Indians.
The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the state government’s decision to release three convicts – Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence was commuted to life term by it two days before. It had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.
Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.