Perarivalan, the assassinator of Rajiv Gandhi, will be released after 31 years in prison
The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that AG Perarivalan, one of the 31-year-old convicts in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, will be released. The verdict may pave the way for the release of the remaining six defendants in the case, including Nalini Sriharan and her Sri Lankan husband Murugan.
“The state cabinet made its decision after considering all relevant factors. It is appropriate to release the convict under Article 142 “The Supreme Court’s special powers were invoked by a group of judges led by Justice L Nageswara Rao.
Perarivalan, speaking shortly after the verdict, said, “We had truth and justice on our side. This would not have been possible without the people’s love and support.”
Perarivalan, who was nineteen at the time of the assassination, was accused of purchasing two 9-volt batteries for Sivarasan, the LTTE member who masterminded the assassination. In 1991, the batteries were used in the bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi. In 1998, an anti-terrorism court sentenced Perarivalan to death. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence the following year, but commuted it to life imprisonment in 2014. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in March of this year.
Perarivalan filed an appeal shortly after, requesting an early release from prison. The Centre had objected to Perarivalan’s request, claiming that the Governor of Tamil Nadu had referred the matter to President Ram Nath Kovind, who had yet to make a decision.
In this case, seven people were found guilty. Despite the fact that they were all sentenced to death, the Supreme Court commuted their sentences to life in 2014, citing the President’s excessive delay in deciding on their mercy pleas.
One of them, Nalini Sriharan, was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 after Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, Sonia Gandhi, intervened. The woman had given birth to a child while incarcerated.
Perarivalan, who spent many years in solitary confinement, has an excellent jail record. During his long incarceration, he had earned several academic credentials. He’d also written a book. While Perarivalan claimed throughout that he had no idea why he was asked to get the batteries, a retired CBI officer, Mr Thiagarajan, later apologised, claiming that he had changed Perarivalan’s confessional statement.
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