Perarivalan, along with six others, has been in jail for 28 years after being convicted in the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Rajiv Gandhi case convict Perarivalans mother meets Amit Shah seeking his release
news Rajiv Gandhi assassination case Monday, July 29, 2019 - 12:32

Arputhammal, the mother of AG Perarivalan alias Arivu who was convicted in the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday seeking the release of her son. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief and Chidambaram MP Thol Thirumavalavan, who had facilitated the meeting, was also present. Perarivalan— along with Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Jayakumar— has been in jail for 28 years after being convicted in the assassination in 1991. 

Speaking to TNM, VCK General Secretary and Villupuram MP D Ravikumar, who was also present at the meeting, said, “The petition for their release is pending before the Governor. The power rests with the Governor now. We hope that a proactive role by the Government will help the Governor follow their lead.”

In June last year, President Ram Nath Kovind had rejected Tamil Nadu government’s plea to release the seven convicts. Speaking to The Hindu, a top official reportedly said that the President’s decision was on the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs. With no formal communication from the Centre on the matter, Perarivalan’s legal team was convinced that the matter could not have gone to the President without the involvement of a central Ministry. Perarivalan’s legal counsel had told TNM that the investigation into the case was still pending. “They still haven't found out details of the belt bomb that was used for the assassination. This is despite Perarivalan filing a case in the matter,” advocate K Sivakumar had said

For over two decades, Arputhammal has been waging a legal battle for the release of her son. The 71-year-old mother maintains that her son is innocent in the assassination by the LTTE. Perarivalan was 19 years old in 1991, when Dhanu alias Thenmozhi Rajaratnam blew herself up near Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at a public meeting in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Perarivalan had reportedly said that he was unaware of the purpose of the two nine-volt batteries he was asked to buy— the main charge against him. But former CBI officer V Thiagarajan, who recorded Perarivalan’s statement at the time, had failed to include this as he assumed it would cast a shadow on the case or could have been a lie.

In January 2018, the Supreme Court gave the Home Ministry three months to decide on Tamil Nadu’s proposal to remit the sentences of the life-term convicts. The Centre had moved court against the State’s proposal to cut short their sentences as they had already served more than 20 years in prison. Following this, on February 14, the MHA sought details on eight grounds from the State to look into its request to release the convicts. 

In September 2018, days after the Supreme Court directed Governor Banwarilal Purohit to take a decision regarding the release of the seven convicts, the Tamil Nadu cabinet recommended their release to the Governor. The matter has been pending before the Governor ever since.

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