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Centre says Rajiv case convicts can’t be freed

The Supreme Court on Friday accepted on record a communication from the Centre rejecting the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to release seven convicts undergoing life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. A three-judge Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph received the letter dated April 2018.

‘Brutal act’

The assassination of the former Prime Minister was an act unparalleled in the annals of crime in this country, the Centre has told the Tamil Nadu government. “The brutal act brought the Indian democratic process to a grinding halt, in as much as the general elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in some States had to be postponed.”

The Tamil Nadu government had written to the Centre on March 2, 2016 proposing the remission. The Centre’s response in April comes almost two years later and after a Supreme Court order to do so.
The Hindu
had, on June 15, first reported the decision of President Ram Nath Kovind to reject Tamil Nadu’s proposal.

In the two-page response, the Centre said it considered Tamil Nadu’s proposal in consultation with the CBI. The assassination was “brutal” and “in pursuance of a diabolical plot carefully considered and executed by a highly organised foreign terrorist organisation.”

It said the CBI, which investigated the case, was also opposed to releasing the convicts in the interest of justice. The case had already been reviewed in the highest forums of the judiciary and executive, all of them agreeing on the guilt of the convicts. The Centre said 16 lives were lost and many suffered grievous injuries in the “gruesome, inhuman, uncivilised and merciless” act. The assassination and the use of a woman as a human bomb showed “exceptional depravity.” It explained to Tamil Nadu that setting the convicts free now would be a “dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications”.

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