New Delhi/ Chennai | Jagran Press Office: AG Perarivalan, who was serving a life sentence for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was released from prison on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ordered his release, a judgment widely hailed by pro-Tamil groups of Tamil Nadu.

After being released from prison, Perarivalan, who was initially sentenced to death by a special court in Chennai, said he now wanted to ‘breathe’ the air of freedom before deciding his future as the battle 31-year-old legal is finally over.

“I clearly believe that capital punishment is not necessary. Not just for leniency…many justices, including Supreme Court Chief Justices, have said that and there are many examples. All the world is human,” Perarivalan said, as quoted by the PTI news agency.

Who was AG Perarivalan and what was his role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi?

Alias ​​Arivu, Perarivalan is the son of Tamil poet Kuyildasan. He was born on July 30, 1971 in Jolarpet of Tamil Nadu. His parents were followers of Periyar, the founder of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu.

Perarivalan is now over 50 years old.

In the 1980s, Perarivalan – then a teenager – was a supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE had assigned the task of assassinating Rajiv Gandhi to its intelligence agent Sivarasan, known as “One-Eyed Jack”.

He was accused that Perarivalan purchased the two nine-volt batteries for Sivarasan, which were used in the bomb belt, a claim accepted by Arivu, which played a key role in establishing his link with the attackers.

“…Furthermore, I bought two 9 volt battery cells (Golden Power) and gave them to Sivarasan. He only used these to detonate the bomb,” Perarivalan had said in his confession statement, as reported by The Indian Express.

In addition to this, he was accused that Perarivalan also bought a motorbike for Sivarasan on his behalf, but provided the wrong address.

However, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official V Thiagarajan in 2013 revealed that he changed the statement taken by Perarivalan while he was in the Terrorism and Activities Act Court. (prevention) (TADA).

Thiagarajan said Perarivalan admitted he bought the batteries, but was unaware of the reason for their purchase.

“Arivu told me that he did not know why they asked him to buy this (the battery). But I did not record this in the confession statement. Then the investigation was ongoing, so this particular statement that I didn’t record. Strictly speaking, the law expects you to record a statement verbatim… we don’t do that in practice,” he said in a documentary released in 2013.

As a result, the Supreme Court in 2014 commuted Perarivalan’s death sentence to life imprisonment due to an 11-year delay in deciding their pardon applications by the Center.

How was he released?

Perarivalan was released after the Supreme Court invoked its extraordinary powers under Section 142 of the Constitution to do “full justice” in a pending case.

Observing that the inexplicable delay in remission decision is “inexcusable” as it contributes to the adverse physical conditions and mental distress of inmates, a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said the Cabinet opinion of the he State of Tamil Nadu recommended the early release of all seven convicts. in the case of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi bound the governor of the state.

Delivering its 29-page verdict which came three days before the 31st anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi’s death, the top court also rejected the Center’s argument that the president has exclusive power to grant a pardon in a case. falling under section 302 (murder) of the IPC, claiming that this would render section 161 (power of the Governor to grant pardons) without function.

The bench, which also includes Judge BR Gavai, held that the states have the power to advise and assist the governor in the case of Section 161 pardon applications made by convicts in murder cases. The Center had earlier defended the Tamil Nadu governor’s decision to send Perarivalan’s clemency appeal to the president.

Section 142 of the Constitution deals with the power of the Supreme Court to exercise jurisdiction and make an order to do “full justice” in any case or matter pending before it. The article was also used in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in which the Supreme Court granted ownership of the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya to a trust, paving the way for the construction of a Ram temple.

Rajiv Gandhi was killed on the night of May 21, 1991 during an election rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, near Chennai, by a female suicide bomber identified as Dhanu. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.

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Aalok Sensharma