At a time when one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Nalini Sriharan is out on bail, Arputhammal - mother of another convict, AG Perarivalan - has knocked on BJP president and home minister Amit Shah’s doors seeking his release.
Chennai: AG Perarivalan’s mother Arputhammal met with Union home minister Amit Shah seeking the release of her son - who is one of the seven convicts in the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief and Chidambaram MP Thol Thirumavalavan, who had facilitated the meeting, was also present. Perarivalan and six others including Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Jayakumar have been in jail for 28 years after being convicted in the assassination in 1991.
In June last year, President Ram Nath Kovind had rejected Tamil Nadu government’s plea to release the seven convicts. News reports stated that the President’s decision was on the advice of the ministry of home affairs.
With no formal communication from the Centre on the matter, Perarivalan’s legal team was convinced that the matter could not have gone to the President without the involvement of a central ministry.
For over two decades, Arputhammal has been running from pillar to post seeking the release of her son. The 71-year-old mother maintains that her son is innocent in the assassination by the LTTE.
Perarivalan was 19 years old in 1991, when Dhanu alias Thenmozhi Rajaratnam blew herself up near Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at a public meeting in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur.
Perarivalan had reportedly said that he was unaware of the purpose of the two nine-volt batteries he was asked to buy— the main charge against him.
But former CBI officer V Thiagarajan, who recorded Perarivalan’s statement at the time, had failed to include this as he assumed it would cast a shadow on the case or could have been a lie.
In January 2018, the Supreme Court gave the home ministry three months to decide on Tamil Nadu’s proposal to remit the sentences of the life-term convicts.
The Centre had moved court against the state’s proposal to cut short their sentences as they had already served more than 20 years in prison. Following this, on February 14, the MHA sought details on eight grounds from the state to look into its request to release the convicts.
In September 2018, days after the Supreme Court directed Governor Banwarilal Purohit to take a decision regarding the release of the seven convicts, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet recommended their release to the Governor. The matter has been pending before the Governor ever since.
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Last Updated Jul 29, 2019, 4:42 PM IST