Rajiv Gandhi assassination: TN Governor says President will decide pardon
Chennai, February 4, 2021
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the Supreme Court that the Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has recorded that President is the competent authority to deal with pardon plea of A. G. Perarivalan, one of the convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
In a short affidavit, the MHA said: "The Governor of Tamil Nadu considered all the facts on record and after perusal of the relevant documents, recorded that the President of India is the appropriate competent authority to deal with said request for remittance matter vide his order dated January 25."
The MHA added that the proposal received by the Central government will be processed in accordance with law. On January 21, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Supreme Court that the Tamil Nadu Governor will decide in three-four days on the matter of early release of Perarivalan. The development was significant as the state is going to polls in this year.
Mehta had submitted before a bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao that a decision will be taken as per the Constitution, on the remission of the sentence by exercising discretionary power under Article 161 within the next 3-4 days.
On various occasions, the Supreme Court had expressed its dissatisfaction over the pendency of pardon plea of Perarivalan for over two years with the Tamil Nadu Governor. Perarivalan had moved the top court seeking premature release and remit of his sentence. He had also cited the recommendation made by the state government in 2018 for his release.
"Pertinently, the offence committed was pertaining to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, by means of detonating a bomb which resulted in the killing of 18 innocent individuals and further causing serious injuries to 43 other persons," the Centre said.
The top court had, in 2014, commuted Perarivalan's sentence to life imprisonment citing long pendency of his mercy petition.
The state government's recommendation to the Governor for pardon to all the convicts has been pending for over two years. Convicts V. Sriharan alias Murugan, T. Suthendraraja alias Santham, Perarivalan alias Arivu, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, P Ravichandaran and Nalini have been in jail for over 25 years.