August 30th, 2011
Email this page

Rajiv assassination: death sentence stayed

New Delhi: The Madras High Court ordered an interim stay on the death sentence of the three convicts for eight weeks. The three assassins, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan who appeared before the court for hearing today shall not be hanged on September 9, 2011.

Prominent criminal advocate and Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Jethmalani and  Advocates Mohit Choudhary appeared before the court on behalf of the convicts in this case that has political overtones.

Murugan alias Sriharan, Santhan and Perarivalan alias Arivu were to be  hanged on September 9. The three convicts filed a petition on the grounds that the President took 11 years to reject their mercy pleas.

Advocate Ram Jethmalani in defence of the convicts stated before the court that the assassins had already suffered more than their share. A death sentence after 20 years of life improsonment made no sense. He said,  21 years of life imprisonment was equivalent to a death sentence.

He also pointed out that the reason for delay in presidents decision should be inquired into. Ram Jethmalani  highlighted the previous Supreme Court statement that, if the president did not arrive at a decision regarding the mercy petition in 2 yearas the death sentence would be cancelled.

In the Rajiv assassination case, initially 26 accused were sentenced to death by the trial court of which the Supreme Court confirmed the sentences of five – of them Nalini Sriharan’s sentence was commuted on the grounds that she’s a mother.

In Tamil Nadu, pro-Tamil groups who were protesting against the death sentence are celebrating after the declaration of Madrass High court’s stay order. 65-year-old Arputhammal hopes the protests could help her stop the hanging of her son Perarivalan. K Perarivalan alias Arivu is the only Indian National amongst the three men who are facing the death sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Like in most such cases this case and the verdict too have had its share of critics and political overtones. Despite the President rejecting the mercy plea, the DMK, which is part of the UPA wants the Centre to commute the death sentence. Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said, “I don’t have power to commute death sentence of three convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. They should appeal to the President again.”

Smaller parties like the MDMK too, are trying to gain political mileage out of the issue. The Chennai Legislative Assembly passed a resolution favouring life sentence for the three convicts.



Press ctrl+g to toggle between English and Malayalam.