Perarivalan had been sentenced to death by a TADA court in 1998 but the Supreme Court upheld the sentence next year but turned it to life imprisonment in 2014. The Supreme Court had granted him bail in March 2022.
SC Orders Release of Life Convict AG Perarivalan after 31 years
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case: AG Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case, will finally walk free after 31 years of being in the prison. The Supreme Court on May 18, 2022 ordered his release invoking powers of Article 142 of the constitution. Perarivalan was arrested on June 11, 1991 when he was 19 years old. He was accused of having bought two 9-volt ‘Golden Power’ battery cells for the LTTE mastermind Sivarasan, who was behind the assassination.
Perarivalan had been sentenced to death by a TADA court in 1998 but the Supreme Court upheld the sentence next year but turned it to life imprisonment in 2014. The Supreme Court had granted him bail in March 2022. There was still delay in his release and he will finally be released now, after completing a term equivalent to two life sentences in prison.
AG Perarivalan had approached the top court in 2018 aggrieved by the delay in his release despite Tamil Nadu government’s recommendation to remit his sentence. Late Rajiv Gandhi’s children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had said in 2018 that have ‘forgiven the killers of their father.’
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case: Timeline of AG Perarivalan’s Sentencing
- Perarivalan had been sentenced to death by a TADA court in 1998 but the Supreme Court upheld the sentence next year and turned it to life imprisonment in 2014.
- Perarivalan submitted an early release application to the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution of India on September 6, 2018.
- The State Cabinet decided to accept his remission plea and forwarded its recommendation to the Governor on September 9, 2018.
- The Governor had kept the plea in abeyance for quite some time. The Supreme Court expressed displeasure regarding delay in the matter when it came up for hearing in November 2020.
- The Solicitor General assured the Supreme Court that the Governor will decide in 3-4 days on January 21, 2021.
- The SC bench asked the governor to decide within a week’s time on January 22, 2021.
- An affidavit submitted by the Home Affairs Ministry considered President to be the competent authority.
- The Supreme Court had granted him bail in March 9, 2022.
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during a poll rally by a woman suicide bomber on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence of four convicts — Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham and Nalini -in an order on May 1999.
Tamil Nadu governor had commuted the death sentence of Nalini in April 2020 based on the recommendation of the state government and an appeal by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The top court had on February 18, 2014 commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan to life imprisonment on grounds of an 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.