Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has, for the first time, answered questions over the delay in responding to the state cabinet's reccommendation to release all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The Governor has said that he isp waiting for the Central Bureau of Investigation Or CBI-led Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency's final report on the case.
The Tamil Nadu government has conveyed Mr Purohit's response to the Madras High Court which had observed last week that the Governor ought to accept or reject the state's recommendation in a reasonable time-frame. It had also directed the state government to get Raj Bhavan's response.
The subject came to limelight while the court was hearing a 90-day parole plea by Perarivalan, one of the convicts, citing health concerns over the presence of COVID-19 positive inmates, and the need to take care of his elderly parents during the pandemic.
The court today directed jail authorities to convey their decision on Friday and asked why a one lakh fine can't be imposed on them for keeping this on hold since March.
The seven convicts, behind bars for the last 29 years, were originally given death sentence for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 at Sriperumbudur by an LTTE suicide bomber.
However, the death sentence of Nalini Sriharan, the only woman convicted in the case, was commuted to life by the Governor following a cabinet recommendation on the intervention of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Later, in 2014 the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence for others too citing inordinate delay by successive Presidents in disposing their mercy petitions.
Although the Tamil Nadu cabinet had recommended the release of these convicts in September 2018, the Governor has neither accepted nor rejected the recommendation yet.
The Governor doesn't have a time-frame to give his response and even if he rejects, he's bound to abide by the cabinet decision if it would forward again.