Social media campaign for Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict’s release
The supporters of AG Perarivalan, 49, a convict in the late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case, have launched a social media campaign for his release 30 years after he was arrested and later convicted.
Arputham Ammal, Perarivalan’s mother, has been fighting for the release of the seven convicts serving life imprisonment in the case. Perarivalan is currently out on parole. Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin approved Perarivalan’s parole for a month on medical grounds after Ammal petitioned for it, citing increasing Covid-19 cases in prisons and the comorbidities that put her son at a greater risk of contracting the disease.
Perarivalan was 19 when he was arrested for procuring two nine-volt batteries used in the bomb detonated in kill Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur.
Perarivalan’s lawyer, K Sivakumar, said they do not want his client to return to prison after his parole is over and that is why they have launched the social media campaign.
In a video message, Ammal said her son was taken away saying it is a minor investigation and he will be sent back the next morning and 30 years are over. “Several of you have supported his release but it has not happened, and we cannot get back his years spend in jail. But at least I want him to be with me during this old age.”
V Thiagarajan, a former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official who was involved in the probe into the case, has claimed Perarivalan was not aware of the reason for which he was asked to get the batteries and that this was omitted from his statement.
On May 20, Stalin wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking to remit the life sentence of seven convicts and to direct their immediate release.
In 2018, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet passed a resolution for the release of the seven and sent it to governor Banwarilal Purohit for his assent. During a hearing in the Supreme Court on Perarivalan’s remission, an affidavit submitted noted that Purohit was awaiting a report of the CBI to make his decision. But in subsequent hearings, the CBI clarified that there is no connection between the remission of the sentence and investigation.
The court also called the governor’s delay “extraordinary”. In February, Purohit refrained from taking a call on the matter and said the President was the competent authority to make a decision.