CHENNAI: It has been 30 years since AG Perarivalan was taken into custody for interrogation in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case on the night of June 11, 1991, with a promise that he would be sent back the next morning. However, in due course, he was made one of the accused and later convicted. The other six who were also arrested have also spent almost spent 30 years in prison.
Renewing her appeal to the State government for the release of Perarivalan due to ill health, his mother Arputham Ammal on Friday said, “The government should not send Perarivalan back to the prison, who is now on a 30-day ordinary leave. I appeal to Chief Minister MK Stalin to consider this.”
Arputham Ammal also referred to the confession of V Thiagarajan, a former CBI officer who recorded Perarivalan’s statement in 1991, who said that he had omitted a part of his statement wherein he had no idea why the two nine-volt batteries were bought.
Thiagarajan was referring to the batteries he gave Sivarasan, which was used in explosives that killed Rajiv Gandhi and many others. Meanwhile, PMK founder S Ramadoss recalled the legal battles and the efforts taken by the State government for many years for the release of Perarivalan and others.
Ramadoss said Chief Minister MK Stalin had made an appeal to the President to release these seven convicts. But the State government has to knock the doors of the Governor and not that of the President since the Governor cannot reject the recommendation made by the AIADMK government for the release of the seven convicts.
How it unfolded
- Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 during an election campaign at Sriperumbudur
- Poonamallee TADA Court awards death sentence to all 26 accused on January 28, 1998
- Later, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of three as life sentences and acquitted 19 others while upheld death sentences for Nalini, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan
- The four convicts went on an appeal and their petitions were dismissed by the SC on October 8, 1999
- The State Cabinet meeting chaired by the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi held on April 19, 2000, advised the Governor to commute the death sentence of Nalini and uphold the death sentence of other three.
- The Governor accepted the State Cabinet’s advice on April 21, 2000 and confirmed the death sentence for Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan
- The DMK government forwarded the mercy petitions of the three to the President on April 28, 2000
- The President rejected mercy petitions on August 12, 2011
- TN Assembly, on August 30, 2011, adopted a resolution moved by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa requesting the President to commute the death sentence of the three convicted
- The SC, on January 21, 2014, commuted the death sentence of 15 persons including four aides of forest brigand Veerappan stating that there has been delay in deciding their mercy petitions, thus giving a ray of hope for the Rajiv case convicted
- The Supreme Court, on February 18, 2014, commuted the death sentence of three convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and said the Tamil Nadu government can exercise its remission powers under Section 432 and 433 Cr.P.C to release the convicted
- Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa chairs TN Cabinet’s emergency meeting on February 19, 2014 and decides to release all seven convicted in the Rajiv assassination case. She told the House that if the Centre fails to respond to the Tamil Nadu Cabinet’s decision within three days, the State government would go ahead and release them as per Section 432 of the CrPC
However, the then UPA government moved the SC against the decision
In February 2014, the Supreme Court stayed the release of all seven convicts as announced by Jayalalithaa and directed the State government to maintain status quo
On March 2, 2016, the AIADMK government decided to release all the seven convicts and sought views of the Centre on the decision
June 15, 2018: President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the State government’s plea to release the seven
September 9, 2018: The AIADMK government recommends to Governor Banwarilal Purohit them
March 20, 2020: Nearly after 18 months of State Cabinet recommending the release of seven convicts, the Governor said a decision on the release could be taken based on the report to be submitted to Supreme Court by the Multi Dsiciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) which is probing the conspiracy angle of the assassination
May 20, 2021: Chief Minister MK Stalin urges President Ram Nath Kovind to accept State government’s recommendation made in 2018 for the release of the seven convicts and pass orders to remit the sentences of all these convicts and also release them immediately