The Jayalalithaa government had yesterday decided to set free all the seven convicts in the assassination case after the apex court had commuted the death penalty of three of them to life imprisonment.
Jayalalithaa said in compliance with Sec 435 of CrPc, her government would send the Cabinet decision to the Centre seeking its nod for the release as the CBI filed the case against the convicts.
"If there is no reply within three days from the Centre, the state government will release all the seven under CrPc section 432 in accordance with the powers vested with it," she declared.
Besides Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, who earned a major reprieve on February 18 from the apex court which spared them from gallows, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran are the other four convicts whose release was decided by the Tamil Nadu government.
Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore, in Tamil Nadu and they are in jail since 1991.
Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, are undergoing life sentence for their role in the assassination of Gandhi on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.
The Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan (both Sri Lankan Tamils) and A G Perarivalan on the ground of 11 years delay in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.
It had also rejected the Centre's submission that there was no unreasonable delay in deciding their mercy plea and the condemned prisoners did not go through agonising experience as they were enjoying life behind the bars.
Gandhi's assassins were convicted by a TADA court in January 1998 and were awarded death sentence, which was confirmed by the apex court May 11, 1999.