Veteran Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi on Friday denounced the release of six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, calling the Supreme Court’s decision a matter of “serious concern”. As he spoke on the behalf of the grand old party, Singhvi even “disagreed’” with Sonia Gandhi – former Congress chief – on the matter. The statement comes hours after the top court directed premature release of Nalini Sriharan and five other convicts in the assassination case of the former Prime Minister.
Addressing a presser, Singhvi questioned the top court’s decision to “invoke special powers” to free the killers of the former prime minister. “Rajiv Gandhi’s killing was an attack on the national integrity,” he said.
On questions about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra meeting convict Nalini, as well as Sonia Gandhi’s statement earlier, Singhvi noted that the party has made its view “very clear” even if it meant disagreeing with the Gandhis. “Sonia Gandhi, above all, is entitled to her personal views. But with greatest respect, the party doesn’t agree and has made our view clear,” he stressed.
“We stand by that view because according to us, sovereignty, integrity, identity of the nation is involved in a PM’s assassination sitting or former. That’s perhaps why the central government has also never agreed with the state government’s view in this regard,” the Congress leader asserted.
The Supreme Court, in its order, said that the convicts were being released based on their “satisfactory conduct” in prison and that they had served over three decades of jail time. It noted that the Tamil Nadu government had also recommended remission of their sentence. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh described the decision as “totally unacceptable”, and “completely erroneous”.
Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber – identified as Dhanu – at a poll rally. The killing was largely seen as a response to his move to send Indian forces to Sri Lanka in 1987 to disarm the Tamil rebels.