Rajiv Gandhi Assassin Pleads For Mercy Killing

One of the key conspirators in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case – Robert Payas-pleaded with prison authorities for mercy killing.
Robert Payas

Chennai: Convicted in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Robert Payas, 46, wrote the Puzhal Prison authorities pleading for mercy killing. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during an election rally in Sriperumbudur on 21 May 1991.

Payas, who belonged to Sri Lanka was in the prison for the past 26 years. He was 20 years old when he was arrested in 1991.

As he did not have any hope of getting released from jail and is deeply distressed as no one from his family turned up to meet him in several years, Payas took the decision to request for mercy killing.

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Aggrieved by the loss of his child due to the cruelty of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces that came to Sri Lanka in late 80’s, Payas joined the assassination plot. His name was included in the list of 26 key suspects of the conspiracy.

Presently he is one of the seven persons who were in prison on conspiracy charges. He was initially given the death sentence in 1998 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). However, in 1999, the Supreme Court of India upheld the death sentence of four of the convicted, freed 19 and reduced the punishment of three including Robert Payas.

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Reports say that former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha made efforts to get seven of the convicts released by writing to the central government in 2014. The central government then approached the Supreme Court. After a couple of years, a bench of the apex court comprising five judges held that the State government was not empowered to take a call to free convicts sentenced under a central law and for a case investigated by a central agency.

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