The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday said it was confident that Governor Banwarilal Purohit will respect people’s feelings which reflect in the cabinet’s recommendation for release of the seven convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The state cabinet recommended to Purohit the release of Nalini, her husband Sriharan alias Murugan, Perarivalan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Santhan on September 9. “The government is confident that Governor Purohit will realise the Tamil people’s feelings and expectations and take a good decision at an appropriate time,” Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters here.
He said the government is also “confident” that the governor will “take an expeditious decision” in the matter. Asked if the government would mount pressure in case Purohit delays the decision, he said he cannot answer a hypothetical question. The cabinet has taken the decision only in view of the urgency of the issue, Jayakumar added. The governor, the minister said, can act only on the aid and advice of the cabinet, which is the collective voice of the people of Tamil Nadu.
“We have sent in the communication on cabinet decision the same day (Sept 9) to the governor. Prison department’s recommendations and the jail records of convicts have also been sent,” Jayakumar said. On Sept 6, disposing of a petition by the Centre, the Supreme Court had said that Tamil Nadu Governor was at liberty to decide a mercy petition by Perarivalan. Murugan, Santhan, Jayakumar and Payas are Sri Lankan Tamils and have been in prison since 1991 following the assassination of the former prime minister at Sriperumbudur near here on May 21, 1991.
Responding to a question about the probability of the state government cutting tax on fuel, Jayakumar said it can be considered in future when Tamil Nadu receives its pending devolution from the central government. On copper giant Sterlite moving court to seek reopening of its plant in Tuticorin, he said, “Let the company go wherever it wants, we will face it. We shut down the plant in keeping with people’s wish”.