Commute death penalty in Rajiv killing case: Investigator

The main investigator in the Rajiv Gandhi assasination case has called for commuting the death penalty of the three accused to life sentence.

New Delhi: Amid a raging debate on the issue
of clemency for killers of Rajiv Gandhi, the main investigator in the 20-year-old case DR Karthikeyan says that he will be happy if the death penalty of the three accused is commuted to
life sentence.

With the demand for commuting their death sentence
becoming an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu, he suggested that
Parliament should convene a special session to discuss the
policy with regard to capital punishment as decisions taken on
regional basis would set a dangerous precedent.

"I have nothing personal against them. I did my duty, let
the government do their duty now. I will be happy if their
death sentence is reduced to life imprisonment," Karthikeyan
told reporters.

Karthikeyan was asked to take charge of the Special
Investigation Team, a day after Rajiv Gandhi`s assassination
on May 21, 1991. Within a year on May 20, 1992, a day before the first anniversary of the assassination, his team filed the charge-sheet naming 41 people as accused.

The former IPS officer said the commutation of Nalini
Sreeharan`s death sentence may help the other three accused,
whose mercy petition has been rejected by President Pratibha
Patil. The Supreme Court had sentenced Murugan, Santhan,
Perarivalan and Nalini to death in 1999.

The Madras High Court had recently granted an eight-week
interim stay on the execution of the convicts which was
scheduled for September 9.
"They have got a case, as one of the condemned prisoners`
death sentence has been commuted to life. Moreover, they have
been in jail for 20 years, and their mercy petitions have
taken 11 years, which was a long period of uncertainty," he


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