Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit will take a decision on the release of seven people convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "within three to four days", Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court today. The court, which is hearing a petition regarding the release of the convicts, had earlier expressed unhappiness over the Governor's tardiness on the issue.
In 2018, the Tamil Nadu government had recommended the premature release of all the seven convicts in the 1991 assassination case. The cabinet's decision, however, needed a sign-off from the Governor, with whom the matter has been pending since.
For more than two years Governor didn't decide on the TN cabinet recommendation.
In 2016, one of the convicts, AG Periavalan, had approached the Supreme Court, seeking release from jail till MDMA completes its probe.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the committee, had told the Supreme Court that it is still investigating the larger conspiracy behind the former Prime Minister's assassination.
"We don't want to exercise our jurisdiction at this stage, but we are not happy that recommendation made by the government is pending for two years," a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, which was hearing the case, had responded.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu's Sriperambudur on May 21, 1991. The subsequent trial and conviction of his killers has been an emotive subject in Tamil Nadu, which had cropped up repeatedly around elections.
Over the years, the Central government, irrespective of the ruling party, has opposed the release of Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham, Nalini Sriharan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, who are serving life terms in various jails across Tamil Nadu.
In August 2018, the Central government had told the Supreme Court that the killers of Rajiv Gandhi cannot be released. Calling the assassination a "most heinous and brutal crime" the Union home ministry said it would "set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications by other such criminals in the future".