|Tamil killers of Rajiv Gandhi get relief
India's Supreme Court has commuted the death sentences for three Tamil men Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, convicted in the 1991 human suicide-bomb assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Rajiv was blown up by a Tamil woman who went to garland him.
The three were among 26 convicted of playing minor roles in the May 1991 assassination carried out by the vanquished Tamil terrorist group known as the Tigers, but were the only ones left on death row after the others were released or had their sentences commuted earlier. The group’s leader, notorious for mass murder, was killed by Sri Lanka’s defense forces in 2009.
Murugan’s wife, S. Nalini, also got the death sentence and is in Tamil Nadu jail. Her term was commuted to life at the behest of Sonia Gandhi, the widow of the former PM.
They denied knowing anything about the plot to kill Gandhi as he was campaigning in May 1991 for a return to the prime ministerial office.
The trio served more than 20 years in a prison in Tamil Nadu. Their lawyers have argued that executing them after such terms would amount to an unconstitutional double punishment.
The court commuted the sentences to life in prison. –AP