New Delhi: The Congress party termed it as “unfortunate” and “unacceptable” as the Supreme Court today announced its decision to release the six killers convicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister and Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP and General Secretary in charge of communications, tweeted: “The decision of the Supreme Court to free the remaining killers of former PM Rajiv Gandhi is totally unacceptable and completely erroneous. The Congress party criticises it clearly and finds it wholly untenable.”
He added: “It is most unfortunate that the Supreme Court has not acted in consonance with the spirit of India on this issue.”
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group from neighbouring Sri Lanka.
The Supreme Court directed the premature release of six convicts, including Nalini Sriharan and RP Ravichandran, serving life sentence in the case. A bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna said the judgement of the top court in the case of AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts, is equally applicable in their matter.
The six convicts were freed by the Supreme Court after 33 years in jail. Out of the six released today, Robert Payas, Jeyakumar and Murugan are Sri Lankan nationals.
In May, the Supreme Court used its extraordinary powers to free a seventh convict, Perarivalan. The same order applied to the rest of the convicts, the court said.
In 2000, Nalini Sriharan’s sentence was reduced to a life term on the intervention of Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi’s wife and former Congress president. In 2008, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the daughter of Rajiv Gandhi, met with her in Vellore jail.
The sentence of six more convicts was also commuted in 2014.