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Home Ministry sat over Afzal's petition: Nair
April 23, 2008 03:38 IST
The Home Ministry sat over Afzal Guru's mercy petition and did not send its recommendation to President A P J Abdul Kalam till his last day in office, it has been disclosed.
Putting a lid on speculative reports that Kalam had deliberately kept the petition pending, P M Nair, who was Secretary to the President, said till July 25, 2007, Kalam's last day in office, no recommendation had come from the Home Ministry on the issue.
Nair, in his book 'The Kalam Effect: My years with the President', said it was shocking that the perception that Kalam had deliberately kept the petition pending was allowed to persist by "interested quarters and uninformed columnists".
Mohammad Afzal, also known as Afzal Guru, was convicted of conspiracy in the December, 2001 attack on Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2004. The sentence scheduled to be carried out on October 20, 2006, was stayed.
Afzal's mercy plea, received by the President on October 3, 2006, was sent to the Home Ministry, which is mandated to send it back to him with appropriate recommendations.
"The President does not act on his own on such petitions," Nair said.
He said that Rashtrapati Bhavan did not issue any press release on this wishing to stay out of unnecessary controversy.