Rajiv Gandhi case: Centre welcomes SC ruling

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New Delhi, Feb 20: The Union government on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on Rajiv Gandhi killers' release. The apex Court on Thursday stayed the Tamil Nadu government's move to release the 7 convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The SC issued notices to the Tami Nadu government and the convicts and asked for reply to be filed within 2 weeks. The case has been posted for hearing on March 6.

Centre pleaded that convicts can't be released during pendency of its review petition on commutation of death sentence. (Read more: Centre to move SC against TN's decision to free Rajiv killers)

Prime minister Manmohan Singh hit out at Jaya. "Tamil Nadu government's proposed course of action to release killers of Rajiv Gandhi is not legally tenable & should not be proceeded with", he said.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal questioned the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's silence on the issue of Rajiv Gandhi case. "Today, I ask why is Narendra Modi quiet on this issue? The sad reality is that some political parties have always remained silent on this issue, which sends out a wrong message," he asked. "In some states, fake encounters are taking place in the name of terrorism while in other states, terrorists are being freed. This is wrong," he added. (Read: Rajiv case convicts' release: Congress questions BJP's silence)

Tamil Nadu Congress has also slammed Jaya's decision to free the seven convicts. "The state govt has dismissed the advisory body and Centre and decided to release 7 convicts", said the state party wing.

"The power of granting remission to the convicts only lies with the Central Govt", said Union Minister Manish Tewari, who added that the Tamil Nadu govt's decision is against law.

Jayalalithaa on Wednesday decided to release all seven Rajiv Gandhi killers a day after the Supreme Court commuted death penalty of three convicts. The Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence of three convicts in the case to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea by the Centre. (Read more here)

Jaya has given the centre three days to respond. "If centre doesn't respond in three days, I will release the convicts under Cr.Pc section 432 in accordance with the powers vested with the state government", she said.

All seven convicts have been serving imprisonment since 1991, the year a woman Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew up former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally in Tamil Nadu.

Rahul Gandhi, son of Rajiv Gandhi, had expressed disappointment with Jaya's decision. On Wednesday, Rahul said "What should the common man expect if a prime minister's assassins are freed". (Read more here).

It is known that, the Congress has put weight behind Rahul and has decided to approach Supreme Court against Jaya's decision.

(Read: Saat Khooni Maaf: Dear Congress, you can't always have the last laugh)

(Read: Rajiv Gandhi assassination: The case so far)

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