Rajiv killers’ pleas adjourned till Jan 31

Chennai : The Madras High Court Tuesday adjourned till Jan 31, 2012, the hearing on the petitions by the three men convicted for assassinating former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to commute their death sentences while the Tamil Nadu government filed an additional affidavit in support of their pleas.

Murugan alias Sriharan, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan and A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu had filed their pleas to commute their death sentences to life imprisonment. The case came up for hearing before a bench of Justice C. Nagappan and Justice M. Satyanarayanan.

Tamil Nadu’s Advocate General A. Navaneethakrishnan filed an additional affidavit enclosing copy of the state assembly resolution of Aug 30 appealing to President Pratibha Patil to review her rejection of the three convicts’ mercy pleas.

The state said its earlier affidavit was misread by the media and the additional affidavit was to clear the air.

Patil Aug 11 rejected the mercy petitions of the three who were linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and sentenced to death for their involvement in Gandhi’s May 21, 1991, assassination at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai.

On Aug 30, the court stayed the Sep 9 hanging of the three convicts on an appeal filed by them and issued notices to the central and state governments.

The central government earlier contended in the high court that the three convicts should be hanged as the president had rejected their clemency petitions.

It contended that once the clemency petition was rejected by the president, the proper course was to execute the sentence.

Gandhi, who was the prime minister 1984-89, was killed by suicide bomber Dhanu at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near here. Fourteen others also lost their lives in the blast.

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