Timeline: Perarivalan’s arrest and release

After a three-decade-long legal battle fought fiercely by his mother Arputham Ammal, Perarivalan, now 50, is a free bird
Last Updated 18 May 2022, 06:07 IST

A G Perarivalan was just 19 years old when he was picked up by sleuths from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by LTTE suicide bombers at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, 50 km from Chennai, on May 21, 1991.

After a three-decade-long legal battle fought fiercely by his mother Arputham Ammal, Perarivalan, now 50, is a free bird. The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered his release. Here is a chronology of the events:

May 21, 1991: Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE suicide bombers

June 11, 1991: CBI arrests Perarivalan for helping Sivarasan, one of the masterminds of the assassination, procure two nine-volt batteries that were apparently used in the explosive-laden belt that Dhanu wore around her stomach. He was booked under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) like others accused in the case.

January 28, 1998: TADA court in Poonamallee, on the outskirts of Chennai, awards death penalty to all 26 persons accused in the case

May 11, 1999: Supreme Court upholds the death sentence awarded to Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan. It commutes the death sentence to life in jail for Ravichandran, Robert Payas, and Jayakumar, while releasing 19 others.

October 8, 1999: Supreme Court dismisses appeals filed by Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan.

October 17, 1999: Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan file a clemency petition before Tamil Nadu Governor

October 27, 1999: Tamil Nadu Governor rejects the clemency of the four

April 19, 2000: Tamil Nadu Cabinet headed by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi recommends the Governor of the state to commute the death sentence awarded to Nalini. Congress President and Rajiv’s widow Sonia Gandhi also appealed to the President of India to commute her death sentence.

April 21, 2000: Tamil Nadu Governor accepts clemency for Nalini. Days later, the Governor forwards the mercy petitions of Santhan, Murugan, and Perarivalan to the President of India

August 12, 2011: Union Government informs Tamil Nadu that the mercy petitions of the trio have been rejected

August 30, 2011: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa moves a resolution in the Assembly demanding that the trio’s death sentence be commuted. The same day, the Madras High Court stayed the execution of the trio after which the case went to the Supreme Court

February 18, 2014: Supreme Court commutes the death sentence awarded to the trio on the grounds that their mercy petitions were disposed of after a long delay

February 19, 2014: Tamil Nadu cabinet headed by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa decides to release all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

February 20, 2014: The Union Government headed by Congress moves the Supreme Court against the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release the Rajiv case convicts. Supreme Court stays their release

December 2015: Perarivalan submits a mercy petition to the Tamil Nadu Governor seeking release under Article 161 of the Constitution. Later, she moves the Supreme Court seeking his release

August 25, 2017: Tamil Nadu government grants parole to Perarivalan for the first time after his arrest to meet his ailing father

September 6, 2018: Supreme Court observers that the Governor has the right to decide on the petition filed by Perarivalan

September 9, 2018: Tamil Nadu Cabinet headed by Edappadi K Palaniswami recommends the release of all seven convicts

January 23, 2021: Supreme Court asks Centre to take a decision within three months on the TN Government’s decision to release the seven convicts

February 2021: Centre tells SC that the Governor feels the President is the competent authority to decide on remission of sentence

May 19, 2021: Perarivalan comes out on parole. The TN Government, under the DMK, kept extending the parole

March 10, 2022: Supreme court grants bail to Perarivalan.

March 15, 2022: Perarivalan walks free out of jail on bail for the first time

May 18, 2022: Supreme Court orders the release of Perarivalan

(Published 18 May 2022, 05:55 IST)

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