Chennai, May 18: Minutes after the Supreme Court ordered release of A.G.Perarivalan, one of the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, emotional scenes were witnessed at his Jolarpettai residence in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Perarivalan, his mother Arputhammal, father Kuildasan and his family members and relatives were moved to tears as the Supreme Court, in a rare case, invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution ordered the release of Perarivalan, ending his long incarceration for over 30 years. The family members of Perarivalan, who was on bail to aid his ailing father, celebrated his release by distributing sweets and by hugging each other, as the family turned emotional. Locals also joined the celebrations as Perarivalan himself distributed sweets to the people.
Perarivalan’s parents expressed happiness over his release and thanked all those who stood by them in the prolonged legal battle. “it’s a victory for a mother’s three decade long legal battle to secure her son’s release”, political leaders said. “I am extremely happy”, Kuildasan told reporters. “I thank all those who supported us in our long legal battle”, he said. Arputhammal told reporters that her son’s release marked the culmination of a 31-year-long battle. “I am at a loss of words…I don’t know what to say”, she said. She thanked the Tamil Nadu government and Chief Miniser M.K.Stalin for granting parole. And the High Court for releasing him on bail. She also thanked leaders of all political parties for supporting her son’s release. Peraraivalan, while talking to reporters, said “the truth and justice is on our side.
The strong confidence that I did not commit any wrongdoing gave the strength for me and my mother to win this legal battle”. “My mother was my strength and it helped us win this legal battle”, he said and thanked his parents for having stood with him for 30 years during my incarceration in Vellore jail. He also thanked the media, police and all those who supported him. He also recalled the submission given by a police officer before the CBI in 2013 that he had failed to record the statement of Perarivalan that he was innocent. Leaders of various political parties, including MDMK General Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko, CPI leaders D.Raja and Mutharasan, Congress leader Su.Thirunavukkarasar, CPI-M leaders, BJP State Chief K.Annamalai, Tamil Nationalist Movement leader Pazha Nedumaran hailed the Apex Court order.
They also demanded that the remaining six convicts should also be released in line. With the Supreme court order. Which had said Perarivalan’s order is applicable to them also. It may be recalled that the State Cabinet had on on September 9, 2018. Recommended to the then Governor Banwarilal Purohit that all seven be released under Article 161 of the Constitution. The convicts–Nalini, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Sriharan alias Murugan (Nalini’s husband), A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu, Robert Payas, S. Jayakumar alias Jayakumaran, and Ravichandran alias Ravi–have been in jail for over 30 years. Santhan, Murugan, Payas and Jayakumar are Sri Lankan Tamils. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a LTTE human bomb Dhanu at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, about 40 km from Chennai on May 21, 1991. Fifteen others, including nine policemen, were killed in the explosion and 43 people were injured.
The Special Investigation Team which probed the assassination had filed chargesheet against 41 accused, of whom 26 were tried. A dozen LTTE operatives, including one of the masterminds Sivarasan and his accomplice Shuba, committed suicide. Three were declared absconders. While the trial court awarded death penalty to all the 26 accused. The Supreme Court released 19 of them and upheld capital punishment for Nalini, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan. And commuted the death sentence to life in the case of three others. In April 2000, Governor Fathima Beevi commuted Nalini’s death sentence. While the remaining three black warrant prisoners obtained a reprieve from the Supreme Court in February 2014. Citing inordinate delay by the President in deciding on their mercy petitions.