Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Perarivalan to walk free after 31 years

AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination will be released, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination will be released, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

He has been behind bars for 31 years.

“State cabinet had taken its decision based on relevant considerations. In exercise of Article 142, it is appropriate to release the convict,” the judges said.

The verdict also could pave the way for the release of other six convicts in the case, including Nalini Sriharan and her husband Murugan, a Sri Lankan national.

Perarivalan was 19-years-old when he was arrested in 1991 for delivering two 9-volt ‘Golden Power’ battery cells to Sivarasan, the LTTE man who masterminded the assassination.

Perarivalan was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in 1998. The next year, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence but commuted it to life imprisonment in 2014.

In March this year, the top court had granted him bail.

While Perarivalan claimed all along that he wasn’t aware of the purpose he was asked to get the batteries, years later, a retired CBI officer, Thiagarajan, had apologised claiming he had altered the Perarivalan’s confessional statement.

Seven people were convicted in the case. Though all were sentenced to death, in 2014, the Supreme Court commuted them to life terms, citing inordinate delay by the President in deciding on their mercy pleas.