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Perarivalan Released on Bail After 31 Years; Only Interim Relief, Says Mother

His death sentence, awarded in 1999, with that of Nalini, Murugan and Santhan, was commuted to life imprisonment.

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India
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AG Perarivalan, one of the seven persons convicted for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court on 9 March, was released on Tuesday, 15 March. Perarivalan, who was in jail for the past 31 years, was granted parole thrice during the period.

His mother, Arputham Ammal, said in a statement that this is an important period in her three-year struggle for justice. “The time for ‘freedom’ is yet to come and the bail is only an interim relief. With great love, I request everyone to be aware of this. I believe that until my son and others have won their freedom, our struggle will continue to have your support,” the statement said.

She also conveyed her gratitude to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, the state government, Opposition leader, and political parties that had extended their support to her struggle.

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Perarivalan was 19-years-old when he was arrested for his involvement in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. He was charged with supplying two nine-volt batteries, used in the belt bomb that killed the former prime minister.

Periarivalan’s death sentence, awarded in 1999, along with that of Nalini, Murugan, and Santhan, was commuted to life imprisonment, citing delays and based on their mercy pleas filed in the Supreme Court in 2014.

In 2017, a former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official admitted to omitting a crucial part of Periravalan’s confessional statement, adding strength to Perarivalan’s remission plea. The officer, Thiagarajan, who had earlier recorded the confession, said that he had failed to record that Perarivalan was unaware of the purpose of the two batteries he was asked to purchase. The official also said that Periravalan did not know the purpose of the use of the batteries, which was revealed after the investigation. He had expressed remorse that Perarivalan had to languish in jail for two decades.

Aruptham Ammal, in her statement also recalled 20-year-old P Senkodi who self-immolated in 2011 to protest the death sentence awarded to Perarivalan, Nalini, Murugan, and Santhan. She referred to the young woman as “her beloved daughter.”

Ammal also thanked various human rights organisations in Tamil Nadu and outside, film fraternity members, and the public for their support to the cause. “Arivu (Periarivalan’s nickname) and I are eagerly awaiting the day when he gains complete freedom and we can say thank you to all,” she said.

(Published in arrangement with The News Minute.)

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