Rajiv case convict’s mother meets TN Guv, seeks son’s release

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Chennai: The mother of one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case Monday met Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit to seek her son’s release following a Supreme Court order and the state cabinet’s recommendation.

Arputhammal, the mother A G Perarivalan, said she met Purohit at Raj Bhavan here and submitted a petition with some related material, and exuded confidence he will accept her demand.

Among the documents she submitted to Purohit was Supreme Court judge KT Thomas’ reported remarks about some “serious flaws” in the CBI investigation in the case and details on her son’s conduct during release on parole, she said.

Thomas had last year reportedly written to the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi, wife of Rajiv Gandhi, requesting her to show magnanimity towards her husband’s killers and help in remission of their sentences.

“The Tamil Nadu government had adopted a cabinet resolution (on the release of convicts) and sent the file to Raj Bhavan. You all know that their release is pending for his signature (of approval),” she told reporters.

The AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu had on September 9 recommended to Purohit the release of all the seven life convicts in the case, a move hailed by most political parties in the state barring the Congress.

The cabinet had decided to release the convicts V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthanthiraraja alias Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini, under Article 161 of the Constitution which relates to the power of the governor to grant pardon and to suspend, remit and commute sentences in certain cases.

Arputhammal said the meeting was ‘cordial’ and the governor went through her petition, and that he even suggested some corrections which were made.

“So, I am confident he will soon accept the cabinet recommendation and approve my son’s release. He will respect the cabinet, Supreme Court,” she added.

Before the state cabinet recommended the release of the convicts, the Supreme Court had asked the governor to consider the mercy petition of Perarivalan seeking remission or pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution while disposing of the Centre’s petition opposing the state’s 2014 decision for their release.

Perarivalan was a diploma holder in electronics and communication engineering at the time of arrest in June 1991.

He completed his bachelors and masters in computer applications from the Indira Gandhi National Open University while still in jail.

He was convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case for supplying the battery which was used to detonate the bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi and 15 others, including Dhanu, the suicide bomber, at an election rally at Sriperumbudur near here on May 21, 1991.

Perarivalan was sentenced to death but the penalty was commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court in 2014. PTI