I don’t have power to help Rajiv killers, says Jayalalithaa

Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa said on Monday that she does not have the power to commute the death sentence of the three people who are to be hanged on September 9 for their roles in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“As chief minister, I don’t have the powers to commute the death sentence after the president has rejected the mercy plea of the three people – Santhan, Murugan and G Perarivalan alias Arivu,” said Jayalalithaa in a statement to the state assembly.

The mercy petitions of the three convicts were rejected by President Pratibha Patil earlier this month will be hanged on September 9, even as pro-Tamil groups have mounted a last-ditch campaign to save them.

The Vellore prison authorities have begun preparations to carry out the capital punishment for killing the former prime minister in 1991.

The trio has been informed of the presidential order rejecting their clemency petitions and the date of the execution.