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After 32 Years in Jail, SC Grants Bail to Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Convict Perarivalan

"Taking into account the fact that the applicant has spent over 30 years in prison, we are of the considered view that he is entitled to be released on bail," the court said.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to A.G. Perarivalan, convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, saying he has been in jail for more than 30 years and is entitled to be released.

“Taking into account the fact that the applicant has spent over 30 years in prison, we are of the considered view that he is entitled to be released on bail, inspite of the vehement opposition by the Centre,” a bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai said, according to LiveLaw.

The bench passed the order in a special leave petition filed by Perarivalan in 2016 against the Madras high court’s refusal to entertain his plea seeking commutation of sentence. He is one of seven people serving life sentences in the assassination case.

According to the Indian Express, the Union government opposed the plea saying the President is the appropriate authority to decide the request. The government also claimed that because Perarivalan’s death sentence was commuted to a life term because he had cited a delay in deciding his mercy plea, he cannot claim more benefits by citing another delay.

The bench said the bail is subject to the satisfaction of conditions posed by the trial court, also asking Perarivalan to report to the local police at Jolarpettai during the first week of every month.

According to LiveLaw, the Supreme Court bench, granting bail, noted that there “are sufficient materials produced to show the acquisition of educational qualifications and skillset by him during his incarceration and his ill-health”. It also noted that Perarivalan is on parole at present and he was granted parole thrice before.

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

Perarivalan was arrested in 1991 as a 19-year-old, accused of buying two nine-volt batteries that were used to trigger the belt bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi. Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.

In May 1999, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of four convicts – Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham and Nalini.

On February 18, 2014, the top court had commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment, along with that of two other prisoners – Santhan and Murugan – on the grounds of an 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.