Dont release Rajiv Gandhi assassin, court told

May 12th, 2009 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Opposing a plea for release of one of the assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Tamil Nadu government has told the Supreme Court that he may rejoin the Tamil Tigers if freed.
“The current fight between LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the Sri Lanka government may again infuse passion in him to act against the law,” said the state government, replying to the plea from P.R. Ravichandran, who is serving life term.

The state government told the court that section 435 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) stipulates that “in cases where the central government is vitally concerned, the state government shall exercise its power of remission or commutation nly after consultation with the central government”.

Accordingly, “the consultation with the central government or order of central government is necessary for the state government to exercise its power to remit or commute the sentence”, said the Tamil Nadu government.

The apex court had Oct 17 last year issued notice to the state government seeking its reply to Ravichandran’s plea.

In jail since May 11, 1992, Ravichandran was involved in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and was convicted by an anti-terror court at Ponamalee jail in Tamil Nadu under various penal offences, including the anti-terror law and the explosive act.

For his various offences, he was awarded both capital punishment and life sentence on Jan 28, 1998. The Supreme Court later commuted his sentences to life term.

“The petitioner was involved in the killing of 16 persons - a prime minister, nine police officers and six citizens. The killing was a pre-planned conspiracy, successfully executed with his active help to his other accomplices,” said the state government’s affidavit.

“Hence the government was constrained to consider his case differently than the other life convicts,” it said.

Ravichandran moved the court challenging a Tamil Nadu government’s decision not to remit his sentence despite over 16 years of incarceration as he was involved in the assassination of a former prime minister.

An advisory board had also recommended against his release on the apprehension that he might revive his links with the banned LTTE.

Currently serving his term in solitary confinement in Vellore Central Jail, Ravichandran, in his petition, also questioned the state government’s apprehension on possibilities of revival of his links with LTTE.

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