In a decision that could lead to a final view on the clemency petition of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Home Minister P Chidambaram has recommended to the President commutation of the death sentence of a prisoner in Tamil Nadu.
This is the first of the 28 cases, including that of Guru, that is pending with the Centre for a decision on death sentence.
Union home ministry sources said Chidambaram has sent his recommendation to President Pratibha Patil to commute the death sentence of Tamil Nadu resident R Govindaswami to life imprisonment on Wednesday.
Govindaswami was accused of the murder of his uncle, aunt and three cousins in 1984. He was acquitted by a trial court in 1987, an order that was challenged by the state government in the Madras high court, which however convicted him and sentenced to death.
Subsequently, Govindswami moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court order, but the apex court in 1998 upheld the high court order, after which he sent a mercy petition to the President. PTI