Payas was one of the 26 persons sentenced to death by a Tada court in the Rajiv assassination case in 1998.
Chennai: Robert Payas, a Sri Lankan LTTE member and one of the life convicts in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has petitioned CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami to order his “mercy killing” because “there’s no point in living even after realising there is no chance of release even after these 26 years in jail”.
After the mercy killing, his body could be handed over to his family, said Payas in his handwritten letter to the CM. Payas, 52, said he completed 26 years in jail on June 11.
Recalling the decision of late CM Jayalalithaa to release all the seven convicts in this case in 2014, he said though that the announcement was welcomed by all, “our release was stopped for unknown reasons”.
“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.”
He said that he was saddened to remain in jail even after DP Wadhwa, one of the three judges in SC who heard the appeal against the Tada court judgment sentencing to death all the 26 persons chargesheeted in the case, declared him an innocent.
Payas was one of the 26 persons sentenced to death by a Tada court in the Rajiv assassination case in 1998. On appeal from them, the Supreme Court confirmed death penalty of Murugan, Nalini, Perarivalan and Santhan and commuted the sentence to life term for Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, while freeing the remaining 19.
The Tamil Nadu governor accepted the state Cabinet decision to commute the death sentence of Nalini following an appeal by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in April 2000. The death sentence of three others was also commuted to life by the Supreme Court on grounds that their mercy petitions were delayed.
However, Tamil Nadu government’s efforts to release the seven convicts have been stalled by the Centre.