The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the petition of the Central Government seeking a review of its ruling commuting death sentence of three convicts, accused in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, to life imprisonment.
"We have carefully gone through the review petition and the connected papers. We find no merit in the review petition and the same is accordingly dismissed," said the apex court in its order.
On February 18, the apex court had commuted the death sentence of three men to life in prison.
Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan had petitioned the apex court against their death sentence, arguing that there had been an exceptional delay in a decision on their mercy pleas.
Later on February 19, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said that the state cabinet will apply powers applicable to it under the Constitution to release the three convicted assassinators of Rajiv Gandhi-Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan-if the Central Government failed to act on the same within the next three days. She had also said that the other convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, namely, Nalini, Jayakumar, Robert Paes and Ravichandran, would also be released.
The decision of the Tamil Nadu was later stalled by the Supreme Court and acting on a petition filed by the Centre, the apex court issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government restraining it from releasing the convicts and directed it to maintain status quo till further orders.
Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbedur on May 21, 1991. Fourteen other people also lost their lives in that blast.