Perarivalan, convicted in Rajiv Gandhi's killing, gets bail after 30 years in jail

While passing the order, the court observed that “there was no complaint about his conduct” when he was released on parole thrice.
AG Perarivalan
AG Perarivalan
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AG Perarivalan, who was one of seven convicted in the case of Rajiv Gandhi’s assasination, was on Wednesday, March 9, granted bail by the Supreme Court. Perarivalan spent over three decades in jail. A Bench of justice L Nageswara Rao granted the bail stating that he had undergone imprisonment for 32 years. The bail was granted despite severe opposition from the Assistant Solicitor General KM Nataraj. The court also stated that the bail will be subject to conditions by the trial court and he shall report to the CBI officer on the first of every month, but Perarivalan has been asked to report to the local police station for the time being. He is on parole currently, and has been on parole three times earlier.

While passing the order, the court observed that “there was no complaint about his conduct” when he was released on parole thrice. The court also contended that he is “entitled to be released on bail”, after considering the fact that he had spent three decades in jail.

"Taking into account the fact that the applicant has spent over 30 years in prison, we are of the considered view that he is entitled to be released on bail, inspite of the vehement opposition by the Centre", the bench said in its order.

Perarivalan was 19 years old when he was arrested for his involvement in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. He was charged with supplying the two nine-volt batteries which were eventually used in the belt bomb that killed the former Prime Minister. Though a trial court had sentenced 26 persons to death in the case, the Supreme Court, in 1999, acquitted 19 persons and convicted only seven. Of the seven, Nalini, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan were awarded death sentences while the other three were sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2014, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of the four convicts to life, including for Perarivalan, citing delays in deciding on their mercy pleas.

Watch TNM's interview with Perarivalan's mother, Arpathum Ammal:

Perarivalan’s plea for remission, meanwhile, gained more strength after a former CBI official in 2017 admitted to omitting a crucial part of Periravalan’s confessional statement. The officer, Thiagarajan, who had earlier recorded the confession, said in 2017 that he had failed to record that Perarivalan was unaware of the purpose of the two batteries he was asked to purchase. The official also said that Periravalan did not know the use of the batteries, which was revealed after investigation, and expressed remorse that Perarivalan languished in jail for two decades.

In September 2018, the Edappadi Palaniswami-led Tamil Nadu government passed a cabinet resolution recommending the release of all seven convicts to the Governor. It was this recommendation that the then Governor Banwarilal Purohit had been sitting on.

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