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Three ex-convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination record statements upon arrival in Sri Lanka

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NewsDrum Desk
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Colombo/Chennai, Apr 3 (PTI) Three ex-convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case returned to Sri Lanka on Wednesday and recorded their statements upon arrival, nearly two years after being freed by India's Supreme Court.

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The trio, who had earlier served a three-decade prison term in connection with the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, were met by the Colombo Police crime investigation department to record their statements as they returned to their homeland from Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Murugan, Robert Payas and Jayakumar arrived at the Colombo International Airport here around 11 am (local time) on Wednesday on a flight from Chennai, police officials said.

Their statements were recorded for over 5 hours, the officials said.

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The trio and Santhan, the fourth convict, had been released from prison in 2022 and were lodged in a special camp in Tiruchirappalli, and on Tuesday night brought to Chennai to be repatriated to Sri Lanka.

On March 1, the remains of Santhan alias T Suthendiraraja, who died in Chennai due to kidney failure while awaiting repatriation, were sent to Sri Lanka.

The four were among the seven convicts in the case freed by India's Supreme Court in November 2022. The others convicted and freed in the case are Perarivalan, Ravichandran and Nalini, all Indians.

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Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist group LTTE was blamed for the murder of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 during an election campaign in Tamil Nadu.

Gandhi in 1987 made the direct Indian intervention to try and settle the Tamil demand for autonomy while engaging in a violent campaign.

Gandhi spearheaded the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord in 1987, creating the provincial council system for the nine Sri Lankan provinces through the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka's Constitution.

India is still pressing for the full implementation of 13A as the solution to the Tamil question in Sri Lanka. PTI CORR SA PY AKJ ---PY PY

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