New Delhi, Aug 6: If Godse's brother could be released in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case, then why should the doors be closed for assassins of Rajiv Gandhi, Tamil Nadu Government today asked the Supreme Court.
"Not far from this court long time ago an old man was engaged in the freedom struggle. Sombody still decided to kill the man and that man was Mahatma Gandhi.
"There is no great leader than the Father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi. Conspirator in the case Gopal Vinayak Godse was let off after 16 years. Nobody questioned that, why not these people (seven convicts in Rajiv assassination case)," senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Tamil Nadu Government told a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.
Godse was released in October 1964 in the case but was rearrested in another case to be out of jail finally in 1965. He also cited the assassination of former US President Abraham Lincoln in which out of eight convicts, four were hanged, one died in jail while three others were pardoned. "It is sad that these leaders were assassinated," he said.
"I am saying keep the doors open. Why should we close the doors and after long passage of time why you keep these convicts in Jail," Dwivedi submitted before the bench also comprising Justices F M I Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghose, Abhay Manohar Sapre and U U Lalit. He made it clear that he is not defending the action of the convicts.
He said in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case the main conspirator -- Velupillai Prabhakaran -- was never brought to justice in Indian court. However, it is a different matter and known to all that later his entire family was wiped out and even his minor son was not spared.
"There is a age-old link between the Jafna Tamils and Indian Tamils," he submitted to drive a point that the seven life convicts should be allowed to be released from the prison.
Among the seven convicts, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Robert Pious and Jaya Kumar are Sri Lankan nationals, while female convict Nalini, Ravichandran and Arivu are Indians.