Chennai: Families who lost their loved ones on May 21, 1991 in the blast that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, met Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday and urged them to not release the seven convicts serving life terms.
In a meeting that lasted over 45 minutes, a forum dedicated to the victims of the 1991 blast at Sriperambadur urged the governor not to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The families said that Governor Purohit has assured them that he will look into the matter.
The family members said that the governor agreed to not take any decision on the issue till the Supreme Court passes a verdict on the review petition. The petition filed by the families of these victims is still pending in the Supreme Court.
In the representation submitted by the forum, they said, “Convict Nalini’s mother has said that she only took care of those seven convicts for more than eight months in her residence before May 21, 1991. This clearly proves that it was a pre-planned cold-blooded murder and hence their pleas for mercy do not deserve any sympathy from any quarter in this country. After the President rejected their mercy petition, the question of reconsideration does not arise again.”
The families in the representation said they filed a review petition in the apex court in 2014 and it was taken up by a three-member bench on September 17, 2018 and the court had given the families’ forum three weeks’ time to submit a response on why they oppose the release of the seven convicts.
On September 24, 2018, Arputhammal, mother of convict AG Perarivalan, who is serving a life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, met Governor Banwarilal Purohit, seeking her son's release following a Cabinet recommendation on the matter. Later, speaking to the media she expressed confidence that the governor will accept her demand.
“Perarivalan deserves to be released. He did not kill Rajiv Gandhi. Remission should not be denied for convicts citing Rajiv Gandhi’s position,” she said.
She also presented details of her son’s exemplary behaviour in jail along with some material on KT Thomas’ remarks of some “serious flaws” in the CBI probe.
Thomas had last year reportedly written to then Congress president Sonia Gandhi urging her to show sympathy towards her husband's killers and enable remission of their sentences.
“I respect the sentiments of the families of the victims, but keeping convicts behind the bars forever won't bring the dead back. I am confident the governor will take the right decision," she said.
On September 9, the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu had recommended to Purohit the release of all seven convicts serving life terms in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — a move which was hailed by most political parties in the state, barring the Congress.
The appeal was made under Article 161 of the Constitution, which relates to the power of the governor to grant pardons and suspend, remit and commute sentences in certain cases.