New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued an order, restraining the Tamil Nadu government from freeing the four assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who are serving life terms.
The Supreme Court asked state govt. not to release the four assassins till March 6.
Last week, on a petition by the Centre, the court stopped the Jayalalithaa government from freeing three of seven convicts - Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan - who were spared execution last week because of an exceptional delay in a decision on their mercy plea.
Tamil Nadu had claimed that the Supreme Court had not stopped it from releasing the four other convicts, Murugan's wife Nalini Sriharan, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced on Thursday that all seven assassins would be freed, less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of three of them. She asked the Centre to give its view within three days.
The convicts have spent over 20 years in jail. Nalini, who was earlier on death row, was granted mercy on the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi's widow and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 by a woman operative of the Lankan Tamil separatist outfit LTTE, who greeted him with a bomb strapped to her chest during a rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
For years, the case has been linked to Tamil sentiment and all regional parties in the state have campaigned for the convicts' release.