Decision To Release Perarivalan Lies With Tamil Nadu Governor, Says CBI

Perarivalan has been serving a life sentence since the age of 19 in a case related to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Jaipur: In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has stated that Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination convict A.G. Perarivalan has nothing to do with the further investigation conducted by its Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA). Perarivalan, who is at present serving life sentence in relation to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi along with six other convicts, has filed a plea seeking an early release.

The agency has left it to Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit to decide on his release. Perarivalan has been serving a life sentence since the age of 19. In July this year, the governor had said it would take a decision to release all seven convicts involved in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination based on the final report of MDMA.

Pursuant to the Jain Commission’s recommendation that further probe into the killing was needed, MDMA was constituted to probe into the “larger conspiracy” behind the 1991 assassination, which included tracking of absconding persons suspected of the crime, probe into the role of 21 Sri Lankan and Indian suspects identified by the Commission, looking into the delay in the interception of messages, among other things.

“It is for the office of His Excellency Governor of Tamil Nadu to take a call on the issue of whether remission is to be granted. So far as relief in the present matter is concerned, CBI has no role,” reads the 24-page affidavit filed by the CBI.

It also mentions that Perarivalan is “not the subject matter of the further investigation carried out by the MDMA”.

Also read: No Real Evidence Against Him, but Perarivalan Enters 30th Year of Imprisonment

The CBI has clarified that it cannot reveal the details of its finding due to a June 1999 order of the designated TADA Court in Chennai that prevents the disclosure.

The SC has already remarked that the probe into the “larger conspiracy” is not meant for convicts like Perarivalan.

During a hearing on November 3, Justice L. Nageswara Rao, leading a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had orally observed that “Larger conspiracy probe is only to prove if any other people are involved. It is not for them [people already convicted]”

Perarivalan had sought a pardon from the Governor on December 30, 2015. Then, in 2018, the Supreme Court asked the Governor to decide on the plea as he “deemed fit”.

Just a few days after SC’s order, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet recommended the governor to remit Perarivalan’s sentence and release him forthwith. However, no action was taken.

On January 20, the SC sought information on the steps taken by the governor in compliance of its 2018 order and subsequent cabinet’s recommendation. In its response, the state government said that the Cabinet recommendation was sent to the Governor for his signature.

The SC then asked court the state to enforce cabinet’s decision to release Perarivalan. It will be hearing the case on Monday.