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SC’s big verdict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, order to release AG Perarivalan

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Ending the over 31-year-old prison term of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict AG Perarivalan, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the release of him in view of his good conduct, medical condition, educational qualifications in jail. The mercy petition of the jailed Perarivalan is pending since December 2015.

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Justice L. A bench headed by Nageswara Rao, exercising its privilege under Article 142, ordered the release of Perarivalan. The bench said, “The state cabinet took its decision on the basis of relevant deliberations. Using Article 142, it would be appropriate to release the guilty.

In the last hearing itself, the top court considered the stand of the government to be ‘bizarre’. In fact, the Center replied that the Tamil Nadu Governor has forwarded the state cabinet’s decision to release the convict to the President, who is the competent authority to decide on the mercy petition. The top court said that when people serving short sentences in jail are being released, why can’t the Center agree to release them.

Peravilan was 19 years old at the time of the assassination and was accused of buying the two 9-volt batteries for Sivarasan, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) man who was the mastermind behind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

The batteries were used in the bomb to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi.

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“My mother has been fighting my case for the last 31 years. She faced a lot of insults in these 31 years. She sacrificed a lot for my release,” Perarivalan said on Wednesday after the court order.

AG Perarivalan was sentenced to death by a TADA court in 1998 and a year later the apex court upheld the sentence. Years later in 2014, the sentence was commuted it to life imprisonment in and in March this year, the top court had granted him bail.

The Supreme Court granted him bail in March this year on the grounds that the convict had already served the last 31 years in jail.

Perarivalan in 2015 had submitted a mercy petition to the Tamil Nadu Governor seeking release under Article 161 of the Constitution. Later, he moved the Supreme Court for having no reply from the Governor.

Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally.

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