September 23, 2023
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A G Perarivalan, Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict, granted bail by SC

A G Perarivalan, the man accused of assassinating Rajiv Gandhi, was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Perarivalan’s plea for release from prison has yet to be decided by the Governor, so the top court has been debating whether or not to grant him bail.

“Since he has already served a sentence of more than 30 years, we are of the considered opinion that he is entitled to bail, despite the vehement opposition of Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj,” said a bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao.

The bench, which also included Justice B R Gavai, noted that Perarivalan had served 32 years in prison and that the court had been informed that he had been released on parole twice previously with no complaints. Perarivalan had claimed that the Governor had yet to rule on his request for remission and that the delay was a reason for his release. The Centre, in response to his petition, stated that Perarivalan’s request should be decided by the President. “In cases where the Union’s executive power extends, the Centre has the authority to decide on a plea for release,” it stated. It also claimed that Perarivalan had already reaped the benefit of a death sentence reduction to a life sentence by citing a delay in the decision on his mercy plea, and that he could not do so again by citing another delay.

“In view of the Union of India’s position that the state government does not have the power to entertain the application, especially after the death sentence imposed on the has been reduced to life, the matter will have to be decided finally,” the Supreme Court said. It went on to say that “the applicant has produced sufficient material to prove his conduct during his long incarceration, acquisition of degrees, and ill health.”

Perarivalan was arrested at the age of 19 and sentenced to death in May 1999. He was accused of buying the 9-volt battery that was used to set off the belt bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India. Over the long pendency of their mercy petitions, his sentence and that of two others, Murugan and Santhan (both Sri Lankans), were commuted to life in 2014. Soon after, Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK government ordered the release of all seven of the case’s seven defendants.

Picture Courtesy: Google/Images are subject to copyright



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