Twenty-three years after they were jailed, Jayalalithaa's Tamil Nadu government today decided to set free within three days all seven Rajiv Gandhi killers after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three of the assassins.
Besides Santhan, Murugan, the husband of Nalini, Perarivalan, who earned a major reprieve from Supreme Court yesterday which spared them from gallows, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran would walkout from prison.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who took the decision for early release of the Rajiv killers at an emergency Cabinet meeting convened this morning over the issue, made a suo motu announcement in the state assembly.
The announcement, which brought cheers on the faces of convicts, their families, was hailed by opposition parties, barring Congress.
Jayalalithaa said in compliance with the Sec 435 of Cr. Pc., the state would send the cabinet decision to the Centre seeking its nod for the release as the CBI filed the case against the convicts.
"If there is no reply within three days from the Centre, the state government will release all the seven under CrPc section 432 in accordance with the powers vested with it", she declared.
While members from the opposition parties thanked the Chief Minister for her gesture in deciding to release all the convicts, Congress's J D Prince stood up and made certain remarks, which the Speaker V Dhanpal expunged.
John Jacob and N R Rangarajan (both Cong) were heard saying some thing, but the Chair refused permission stating that any statement made under Rule 110 of the House did not entail members to seek clarifications.
The three Congress members later trooped out of the House.
Majority of political parties in the state had demanded immediate release of convicts in the backdrop of Supreme Court observation that the state can consider their release.
Arputhammal, the mother of Perarivalan, who had relentlessly campaigned for about 23 years seeking her son's release, had exuded confidence of the state freeing her son from the prison.