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After 31 years, Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict walks free

After 31 years, Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict walks free
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New Delhi/Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Wednesday met AG Perarivalan after the Supreme Court ordered his release in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Perarivalan thanked the CM for the effort taken by his government for his release. Hours after the top court ordered his release, A G Perarivalan, convicted in 1998 for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, said his victory was a result of his mother's struggle over the last three decades. Speaking to the media outside his house in Jolarpettai, Tamil Nadu, Perarivalan said the "honesty in (the) case" was what gave him and his mother, Arputhammal, the strength to fight for so long.

While ordering the release, the Supreme Court used its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said that the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had in September 2018 recommended his release to the Governor taking into account relevant considerations. Article 142 enables the court to pass orders to do complete justice in a case. It said that any delay on the part of the Governor to decide on the exercise of powers under Article 161 to grant pardon, remission of sentence etc is subject to judicial review.

Perarivalan, who was 19 years old at the time of Gandhi's killing in 1991, was accused of buying the two 9-volt batteries used in the bomb to assassinate the former prime minister. He was sentenced to death by a TADA court in 1998. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence the next year but commuted it to life imprisonment in 2014. The top court had granted him bail in March this year. In 2018, Perarivalan approached the top Court aggrieved by the delay in his release despite a recommendation given by the Tamil Nadu government to remit his sentence. In March this year, the top court had granted him bail.

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