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A total of 26 persons were convicted with death penalty in the year 1998 by TADA court and as and when the cases went to the Supreme Court of India, the death penalties of the following 4 persons only were confirmed in the year 2000:
- V.Sriharan alias Murugan
- T.Suthendra Raja alias Santhan and
- Nalini Wife of Murugan
And the mercy petitions of remaining 3 of the Rajiv Gandhi killers, Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan were rejected by the President of India in the year 2011 after 11 years.
The death row convicts filed writ petitions in the Madras High Court challenging the President of India’s rejection of their mercy pleas after more than 11 years and the Madras High Court had stayed their hangings in the year 2011.
The Supreme Court of India had transferred to itself the above writ petitions from the Madras High Court in May 2012.
On 18th February 2014, the Supreme Court of India bench comprising the following 3 Justices:
- Chief Justice of India- P.Sathasivam (Head of the Bench),
- Justice Ranjan Gogoi and
- Justice Shiva Kirti Singh
However, the Supreme Court Bench has advised the State government of Tamilnadu to exercise its remission powers under Section 432 and 433 of the Criminal Procedure Codes and consider release of the 3 convicts who had been languishing in jail for more than 23 years.
It is notable that the Supreme Court of India had commuted death penalties of 15 convicts into life imprisonment on 21st January 2014, announcing that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in carrying out executions were grounds for reducing their original punishment.