No power under the Constitution can now stop the hanging of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, whose mercy petitions have been rejected, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy said. In a statement, Dr. Swamy said even the earlier commuting of the sentence of Nalini, another convict in the case, from death to life imprisonment in 2000 was ultra vires the constitution and totally illegal.
“Nalini’s commutation, therefore, is bad in law and can be set aside by courts, and thus is liable for being executed at a future date for her participation in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. There should be no further interference in the decision to hang the three convicts on 9 September. “India can no more be perceived as a soft state when it comes to terrorists,” he added. In a statement issued yesterday Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said she does not have the power to commute the death sentence of the three people.
As chief minister, I don’t have the powers to commute the death sentence after the president has rejected the mercy plea of the three people — Santhan, Murugan and G. Perarivalan alias Arivu, the Chief Minister said.
The mercy petitions of the three convicts were rejected by President Pratibha Patil earlier this month and they will be hanged on 9 September.
The Vellore prison authorities have begun preparations to carry out the capital punishment for killing the former prime minister in 1991.
Meanwhile, the chief investigating officer of the Special Investigation Team which probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case blasted various organisations in Tamil Nadu for distorting the facts associated with the death sentence awarded to Santhan, Murugand and Perarivalan, the three LTTE assassins.
“I saw Karunanidhi appealing to the state and central governments on Monday to commute the death sentences of the three LTTE activists to life imprisonment. He knows very well that it is illegal and impossible. That’s why he himself shied away from doing that in 2000 when he was the chief minister. Now what Karunanidhi is doing is nothing but hypocrisy,” said K. Raghothaman.
Speaking to DNA, Raghothaman, who retired from the CBI in 2005, said even the commutation of the death sentence of Nalini to life imprisonment by the then Governor of Tamil Nadu smacked of mysteries.
He said it was because of the pressure exerted by the then chief minister Karunanidhi that this happened. “Even then Karunanidhi played it safe by refusing to entertain the pleas of the others because he knew it was impossible,” said Raghothaman. (info.gov.lk)