We will ensure voters are not influenced: CEC on Rajiv killer issue

The Election Commission on Friday said it will take an "appropriate view" to ensure voters are not influenced if any reference comes to it on Tamil Nadu government's decision to remit the life sentence of killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

PTI| Updated: Mar 04, 2016, 20:38 PM IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday said it will take an "appropriate view" to ensure voters are not influenced if any reference comes to it on Tamil Nadu government's decision to remit the life sentence of killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

"As and when the reference comes, the Commission will take an appropriate view just to ensure that our voters are not influenced," Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said at a press conference here.

He was responding to a question after announcing Assembly election schedule for Tamil Nadu along with West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

With the announcement, the model code of conduct has come into force under which state governments or the Centre are barred from taking decisions without consulting EC which can affect the level playing field of political parties.

Asked 'whether' the Ministry of Home Affairs would be approaching the poll panel on the issue as the Tamil Nadu government has sought the Centre's view on the issue, Zaidi said the Commission will "not speculate" at this point of time.

The Centre had yesterday said it will abide by Supreme Court verdict on the issue of freeing convicts, a day after Tamil Nadu government decided to remit the life sentence of all the seven killers of Rajiv Gandhi.

The Supreme Court had on December 2, 2015 held that the Centre and not State government will have the "primacy" and that states cannot exercise "suo motu" the power to decide whether persons convicted in matters of the CBI or central agency should be released or not on remission, dealing a blow to efforts by the state government to release all the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Congress opposed the decision of the AIADMK government to remit the sentence of the convicts, calling it "very unfortunate". The state government had also sought the Centre's views on its move.

The convicts are V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, A G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.