The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of AG Perarivalan, who has served over 30 years of a life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case after taking into account his good conduct in prison, medical condition, educational qualifications acquired in jail, and the long pendency of his mercy plea since December 2015.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao invoked its extraordinary power under Article 142 to grant relief to Perarivalan, who was arrested in June 1991 and was released on bail by the top court on March 9 this year On March 9, the top court had granted bail to Perarivalan.
The bench said, “State cabinet had taken its decision based on relevant considerations. In exercise of Article 142, it is appropriate to release the convict.”
Article 142 deals with enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.
The Apex court was hearing the plea of the 47-year-old Perarivalan demanding suspension of his life sentence in the case till the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency probe is completed.
On the night of May 21, 1991 Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally. In its May 1999 order, the Supreme court had upheld the death sentence of four convicts Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham and Nalini.
The top court on February 2014 had changed the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment, along with two other prisoners — Santhan and Murugan — on grounds of an 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas by the Central Government.