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NEW DELHI: The seven Rajeev Gandhi killers jailed in Tamil Nadu cannot be released, the Indian government told the Supreme Court today, asserting that the case involves the assassination of a former Prime Minister. The CBI, which investigated the case, has opposed the release of the seven convicts, the court was told.

The seven convicts had been in jail for 27 years. The convicts, Perarivalan, Murugan, Santhan, Nalini Sriharan, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, are serving life terms. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 by a woman operative of the separatist Lankan Tamil outfit LTTE.

In 2014, then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa decided to release the convicts but the centre – the Congress-led government was in power challenged her decision. The Supreme Court then said the state could not take such a decision without the centre’s sanction, as the case was investigated by the CBI.

Tamil Nadu had been informed of the decision on April 18, the Centre told the court.

The government called the former prime minister’s killing “gruesome” and added that killers don’t deserve leniency.


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