New Delhi: The assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 brought the Indian democratic process to a grinding halt, the central government said while shooting down a plea for premature release of the seven convicts.
Submitting its compliance affidavit before the Supreme Court, the Centre brought on record its stand in the matter.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the Centre has responded to the request by Tamil Nadu government, declining its plea of remission for the convicts.
The court said it has put on record the Centre’s reply and will now hear the matter on the next day for final disposal.
In January this year, the bench had given three months to the central government for taking a decision on a 2016 letter by Tamil Nadu government seeking its approval for release of the convicts.
By a communication on April 18, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) turned down the state’s request.
The three-page letter by the MHA stated that this was a “most heinous and gruesome crime perpetrated as a result of pre-planned and premeditated conspiracy”.
It added: “The brutal act brought the Indian democratic process to a grinding halt in as much as the general election to the Lok Sabha and assemblies in some states had to be postponed”.
The communication pointed out that all the courts have unanimously held that it was an unparalleled act in the annals of crimes committed in this country while confirming their conviction.
The MHA said that releasing these convicts will “set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future”.
And therefore, the note said, the central government does not concur to the proposal by the Tamil Nadu government for grant of further remission of sentence to the seven convicts, currently undergoing life terms.
The seven convicts are V Sriharan, AG Perarivalan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.