AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts of the assassination case of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, will have to wait longer for his early release, as Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has sent his plea to the President for consideration, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Purohit said the President has “appropriate competent authority” to decide Perarivalan’s release.
Perarivalan’s plea has been pending with the Governor since December 2015.
In an affidavit to the apex court, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated: “His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu considered all the facts on record and after perusal of the relevant documents, recorded that the Hon’ble President of India is the appropriate competent authority to deal with the said request for remittance matter vide his order dated 25.01.2021. The proposal received by the Central Government will be processed in accordance with law.”
According to Live Law, the affidavit was filed after the Supreme Court’s order asking Purohit to decide on Perarivalan’s plea. The order was passed in view of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta telling the court in January that Purohit will decide within four days.
On June 11, 1991, Perarivalan was arrested for purchasing two nine-volt batteries for the explosive device that was used to assassinate Gandhi. In 2018, the Tamil Nadu government recommended the release of Perarivalan and six other convicts under Article 161.
Perarivalan, who is currently in Chennai’s Puzhal Central Prison, had written to Purohit in January 2020 requesting him for an expedited reply, a few days after the Supreme Court pulled up the CBI for failing to progress in its investigation of the larger conspiracy behind Gandhi’s assassination.
In November 2020, several members of the Tamil film industry, political leaders, and writers sought Perarivalan’s release on social media. Actors Arya, Vijay Sethupathi, Prakash Raj, filmmakers Bharathiraja, Karthik Subbaraj, among others pleaded for his release, a day before Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Chennai.