Jaya to counter Centre in SC over Rajiv killers issue

jayatocounterCHENNAI: Stung by the Center’s move to stall the release of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today asserted that her government would face it legally.

“We are aware of that. The Centre has already written to us. We will counter it in court,” she said, responding to the Centre moving the Supreme Court seeking direction to Tamil Nadu not to release four convicts, including Nalini.

When her attention was drawn to the allegations that her government’s decision to set free seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was a “political move”, she said, “The matter is in court. It is sub-judice. We shouldn’t be discussing it in a press conference”.

“Whatever we have to say, we will inform the court through our counsel”, she said, declining to reveal details of the defense the state would be taking on the convicts release, which the UPA government had blocked seeking Supreme Court intervention.

On February 19, Jayalalithaa announced in the state assembly her government’s decision to release all the seven convicts, a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three of them- Murugan, Santhan and A G Perarivalan-to life.

Jayalalithaa said her government would consult the Centre on the release and “if there is no response within three days, it will set them free”.

However, the decision came in for severe flak from Congress, including its Vice President Rahul Gandhi, whose father Rajiv Gandhi was victim of the LTTE suicide bomb blast on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur.

The Centre filed a petition on February 20 before the Supreme Court challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision and the court stayed the release of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan.

Today the Centre filed another application seeking stay on release of four other convicts, including Nalini, whose death penalty had already been commuted to life in 2000.

Indicating that no more parties will join the AIADMK-led front, Jayalalithaa said, “This alliance (of Left parties and a few small local outfits) is enough.”

As announced earlier, her party will face the elections with the slogan of “Peace, Prosperity and Progress” and it will be explained in detail in the election manifesto which will be released soon, she said.

The Chief Minister, who aspires for a clean sweep of elections besides envisaging a bigger political role for herself and her party post-elections, said her aim was to win all the 40 seats in the state and Puducherry.

Asked if she would seek a special package for Tamil Nadu on the lines of some states including Bihar, which has been pressing for such a sop, Jayalalithaa shot back “This government? This government is on its way out. We will get whatever (we want) from a new government (which will be formed) in June,” she said.

Soon after coming to power in May 2011, Jayalalithaa had demanded that her state be given a special package.

People of Seemandhra have been demanding special package in the wake of bifurcation. -PTI

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