The hearing on the release of AG Perarivalan, convicted in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was heard on Thursday. During this, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that the Governor of Tamil Nadu has informed that he will take a decision in three to four days on the recommendation of the state government, which has recommended waiving the sentence of AG Perarivalan. On the statement of the AG, the Supreme Court has deferred the hearing of the case for four weeks.
Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had told the Supreme Court that the Governor of Tamil Nadu has to decide in connection with the amnesty of AG Perarivalan. The CBI, in its affidavit filed on November 20 last year, said that Perarivalan, who is serving life imprisonment in the case, is not the subject of further investigation by the CBI-led ‘Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency’ (MDMA). The MDMA is investigating the aspect of ‘big conspiracy’ based on the Jain Commission report.
Supreme court has expressed its displeasure
The apex court is hearing a petition filed by 46-year-old Perarivalan, requesting the suspension of his life imprisonment in the case till the MDMA investigation is completed. On November 3, the Supreme Court had expressed its displeasure on the plea of the convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case pending with the Governor of Tamil Nadu for more than two years.
The investigating agency had said that the apex court had on March 14, 2018 rejected Perarivalan’s application requesting withdrawal of the apex court’s May 11, 1999 verdict of conviction in the case. The apex court had earlier asked the counsel for the petitioner Perarivalan whether the court could use Article-142 to request the Governor to take a decision on the amnesty petition filed under Article 161.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in the year 1991
Article 161 gives the governor the authority to pardon the offender in any criminal case. The apex court had said, “We do not want to use our jurisdiction in this area but we are not happy that a recommendation made by the government has been pending for two years.”
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a female suicide bomber during an election meeting in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on the night of 21 May 1991. In this incident, 14 other people including the suicide woman Dhanu were killed and this was probably the first suicide blast in which a major leader was killed.
Supreme Court sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014
The apex court had in May 1999 upheld the death sentences of Perarivalan, Murugan, Santan and Nalini in the murder. However, in April 2000, on the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu government, the governor converted Nalini’s death sentence to life imprisonment. On February 18, 2014, Perarivalan’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment along with two other convicts – Santan and Murugan, on the basis of 11 years of delay in deciding the mercy petition by the apex court.