SC to review Perarivalan pardon plea

The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A.G. Perarivalan a fortnight’s time to place on record a copy of his application made to the Tamil Nadu Governor two years ago seeking grant of pardon.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph listed the case for September 6.

In a court hearing that coincided with the 74th birth anniversary of the late leader, Perarivalan, represented by advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, submitted that his mercy petition was pending since December 30, 2015.

In his letter to the Governor, he had written how he had already undergone 24 years of solitary confinement, while life imprisonment is for a maximum of 20 years after which the convict could be considered for release.

“The main culprits who designed the bomb made of RDX were not nabbed till date. They are scot-free and investigation is still pending into the vital aspects of the crime itself,” the letter said. Perarivalan was 19 years old when the CBI arrested him in June 1991 for his involvement in the assassination. He was found guilty of purchasing two nine-volt batteries for the Improvised Explosive Device used in the killing.

The Supreme Court had confirmed his death sentence on May 11, 1998 on a death reference. His death penalty was commuted to life sentence by the court in February 2014. Now, in his mid-forties, Perarivalan has spent over 26 years in prison. On an earlier occasion, the CBI had objected to the apex court going in for a re-look into his case.

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