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Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case: AG Perarivalan Walk Free After 3-Decade Legal Fight

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A G Perivalan Law Insider

Khushi Gupta

Published on: May 18, 2022 at 17:58 IST

More than three decades after he was Imprisoned in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case, Life Convict AG Perarivalan was set to walk free on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ordered his release.

The Apex Court order to release Perarivalan comes after a long-winded legal battle. Perarivalan was 19 when he was arrested for buying two 9-volt batteries, which were used in the bomb in the 1991 Assassination.

He has since said that he was unaware of the purpose for which he was buying the batteries, and has consistently maintained his innocence.

However, the first step to him walking free came on March 9 this year, when the Supreme Court granted him Bail – up to this point, he had only been out on parole, and was in fact on his third parole to undergo medical treatment for various illnesses he had developed when the bail order had come.

After observing in a previous hearing that Perarivalan’s conduct in Jail was good, and that he was being discriminated against under Article 14 of the Constitution (Right to Equality), a Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai granted him Bail.

Though initially awarded the Death Penalty, Perarivalan’s sentence was in February 2014 commuted to Life in Prison.

In October 2017, former Central Bureau of Investigation Officer V Thiagarajan, who recorded Perarivalan’s Statement in 1991, told the Supreme Court that he had omitted the part of his statement where he said he was not aware of the purpose for which he bought the batteries.

Perarivalan’s release, along with that of six other convicts in the Case, has been a major electoral and emotive issue which has dominated Tamil Nadu politics for three decades.

In 2018, the Tamil Nadu cabinet unanimously passed a resolution for the release of all seven Convicts and sent it to then Governor Banwarilal Purohit. But after 3 years, the Governor declined to take a decision and forwarded it to the President of India, stating that the latter was the Right Authority to take the decision.