The Supreme Court has ordered the release of AG Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, who has been behind bars for 31 years.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao invoked its extraordinary power under Article 142 to grant relief to Perarivalan. “State cabinet had taken its decision based on relevant considerations. In exercise of Article 142, it is appropriate to release the convict,” the bench said.
Article 142 deals with enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc. On March 9, the top court had granted bail to Perarivalan while taking note of his long incarceration and no history of complaints when out on parole. The top court was hearing the plea of the 47-year-old Perarivalan seeking suspension of his life sentence in the case till the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency probe is completed.
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.
“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.