Rajiv Gandhi murder convict seeks mercy killing

The late Chief Minster, J Jayalalithaa, in 2014 moved a resolution in the Assembly to release all those convicted in the case.

After spending over 26 years behind bars for his role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, one of the convicts Robert Payas has appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for mercy killing.

July 29, 2015: SC dismisses Centre's curative plea against commutation of death penalty into life term of 3 convicts.

Payas has completed 26 years of incarceration and entered the 27th year on June 11 this year.

Stressing that the "silence of the governments (including Tamil Nadu) only tell us this (that their lives should end in jail)", he said he understood that the intention of the state and Centre was to confine them in prison.

"We are still in jail because the present government at the Centre, as well as previous one, had strongly objected to the state government's decision to release us", said Payas, adding, "I don't see any point in living considering that no one from my family came down to Tamil Nadu to visit me for the past few years". Gandhi was blown up by a human bomb on May 21, 1991.

October 27: Governor rejects the clemency petitions. The next year, the Supreme Court freed 19 of them, upheld death for four and reduced the sentence to a life sentence for three others.

He claimed that he had been held "not guilty" by Supreme Court Judge Justice Wadhwa in 1999, but still continues to serve his sentence in prison which has anguished him greatly.

The Tamil Nadu government has written to the central government on more than one occasion after the top court's verdict to seek the release of the convicts.

Payas is a suspected member of the LTTE commando team and had confessed that he was one of the key members of the team that planned the assassination.

According to the book, The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: The Investigation By DR Kaarthikeyan states that Payas' arrest was imminent right from the time the first lose ends of the case were traced by the investigators.

  • Arturo Norris