Karunanidhi justifies release of 1400-odd life convicts

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Chennai, Sep 14 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today justified the release of 1400-odd life convicts, including those involved in the sensational CPI(M) Councillor Leelavathi murder case, on good conduct to mark Anna's birth centenary tomorrow.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Karunanidhi said they were being released as per law and after getting legal concurrence as they had completed seven years jail term.

On CPI(M)'s charge that those involved in the Leelavathi murder case were also being released, the Chief Minister said one of the accused in the case was not released as his conduct was not good while he was on parole.

''The DMK accepted the CPI(M)'s demand that the culprits involved in the murder, even if they belonged to the DMK, should be brought to book and that the DMK advocates should not argue the case during trial,'' he said, justifying the release of prisoners.

Asked whether the DMK government would urge the Centre to bring down the prices of petroleum products in the wake of crude oil prices plummeting to 98 US dollars per barrel from 145 US dollars, Mr Karunanidhi said the Centre was seized of the matter.

''The Centre is negotiating on the issue,'' he added.

On the demand from a section of the Congressmen that they would seek a share in power in the State ruled by the DMK, Mr Karunanidhi said it was a matter to be decided by the top leadership of the two parties.

He said the Arasu Cable TV Corporation would start functioning across the State from tomorrow and it would be delayed in Chennai where the CAS was in force.

He also dismissed the talk of simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly and said, ''the Assembly polls will be held after the Lok Sabha polls.'' Mr Karunanidhi said there was no specific threat to Chennai and Tamil Nadu in the wake of serial blasts in New Delhi yesterday.

He also denied Union Health Minister Anbumani's charge that the DMK government was not extending its support for health schemes and that it failed to honour its commitment to provide five acre free land for setting up a Herbal park at Siddha Hospital here.

On Anbumani's charge that the government was demanding Rs five crore per acre for setting up the park, Mr Karunanidhi denied it and said it was the habit of the PMK to do such things and not the DMK.

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