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Supreme Court reiterates no death penalty for Rajiv killers

April 1, 2014 - New Delhi

  • The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday declined to review its verdict that the three men convicted in the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi will not hang.
  • The Supreme Court was hearing a petition by the union government against the decision to reduce the punishment of the three convicts to life imprisonment.
  • Bench of Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh said, that there is no merit in the review petition and the same is accordingly dismissed.
  • On February 18, the Apex court had commuted the death sentence of Santhan, Murugan and Peraivalan to life sentence because of an 11-year delay in decision on their petitions of mercy.
  • The three were convicted of their involvement in the killing of Rajiv Gandhi in 1998 and sentenced to death by hanging. A fourth person, Nalini, was also given death sentence but it was later commuted to life term. Three other convicts were also serving life terms.
  • Reacting to the Apex court's judgement, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa said that the Government would free all the seven convicts.
  • The union government also filed a petition challenging Jayalalithaa government's power to free the convicts. The court then blocked the release of convicts who have spent more than 20 years in jail.
  • Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed while campaigning in Sriperumbudur in May 1991 by a suicide bomber of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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