Central & South Asia

Indian state to free Rajiv Gandhi's killers

Southern Tamil Nadu state decides to free seven people convicted of killing former prime minister.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2014 07:28
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Rajiv Gandhi was killed in 1991 by a LTTE human bomb [EPA]

Authorities in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have decided to free seven people convicted of killing former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, reports say.

NDTV reported that Tamil Nadu's council of ministers met on Wednesday morning and decided to free the seven, including one woman.

The Indian Express newspaper said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha announced the decision at a session of the provincial assembly.

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The seven to be freed are Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Robert Piuos, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and a woman called Nalini.

Attorney Yug Chaudhry said the Tamil Nadu government still needed approval from the federal government before the seven could be freed.

India's Supreme Court had a day earlier commuted the death sentences of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, sentencing them to life in prison instead.

Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a human bomb during an election campaign in 1991. Sri Lanka's LTTE carried out the assassination to avenge Gandhi's policy towards Sri Lanka during his stint as the prime minister.

Nalini's death sentence had been earlier commuted by the top court.

The Supreme Court had on January 21 commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, announcing that "inordinate and inexplicable" delays in carrying out executions were grounds for reducing their original punishment.


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