Soon after the Supreme Court ordered the release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict AG Perarivalan, on Wednesday, his mother Arputhammal said, “Only if we sit and think we will know the pain of a person who has spent 31 years behind bar. My son has overcome that now.”
“I would like to thank MK Stalin. I would also like to to thank all the leaders, and everyone who supported us and our struggle,” she said.
“I have struggled to get my son justice for over 31 years. You all have supported me. Thank you for that. I don’t know what else to say apart from thank you,” said Arputhammal.
Visuals showed Perarivalan and his family celebrating after the top court ordered his release.
Family members distributed sweets outside their residence in Jolarpettai.
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.