The mother of one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case met Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit in Chennai on Monday and sought her son’s release, reported PTI. Arputhammal, the mother of AG Perarivalan, submitted a petition to the governor.
On September 9, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet recommended the convicts’ release. It came three days after the Supreme Court told Purohit to consider Perarivalan’s mercy petition. The other convicts are V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini.
Arputhammal said she was confident that the governor would not dismiss her request. “Tamil Nadu government had adopted a Cabinet resolution [on the seven persons’ release] and sent the files here [Raj Bhavan],” she said. “You all know that their release is waiting for his signature [of approval].”
Along with a petition for release, she also gave Purohit documents, including those with details about her son’s behaviour during his earlier parole and extension, and judge KT Thomas’ remarks about “serious flaws” in the inquiry conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Last year, Thomas reportedly wrote to then Congress President Sonia Gandhi and urged her to show mercy towards her husband’s killers and enable the remission of their sentences.
Purohit went through the petition and even suggested a correction in it, said Arputhammal. “So I am confident he will soon accept the cabinet recommendation and approve my son’s release,” she added. “He will respect the Cabinet, Supreme Court.”
In June, President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the state government’s request to release the prisoners. Two months later, Perarivalan, 47, wrote to the top court saying no decision had been made on his mercy petition to the governor filed in December 2015.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 by a suicide bomber of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam organisation at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu during an election rally. Perarivalan, who was charged with supplying a nine-volt battery allegedly used in the bomb, told the Supreme Court he has endured more than 24 years of solitary confinement. “As per jail rules, life imprisonment at ground level is only for a maximum of 20 years and thereafter the prisoner is considered for release,” he said in his petition to the court. “Now I have already undergone more than life imprisonment.”
Last month, the Centre told the top court that it was against the state government’s petition to release the convicts and said it would set a “dangerous precedent” and have “international ramifications”.