Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 23
The Supreme Court on Monday extended by a week the parole to Rajiv Gandhi killer AG Perarivalan who was serving life sentence and asked the Tamil Nadu Government to provide escort to him to enable him to undergo medical tests.
A Bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao passed the order after senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said the Madras High Court had earlier extended the parole from November 9 to November 23.
The Bench said it intended to dispose of Perarivalan’s plea for remission of sentence on the next date of hearing.
On November 3, the Bench had said the investigation into the “larger conspiracy” behind Rajiv Gandhi’ assassination need not deter the Governor from deciding clemency plea of Perarivalan, who has been in prison for more than two decades.
The CBI told the Supreme Court last week that the Tamil Nadu Governor was the competent authority to take call on his remission plea.
In an affidavit filed last week, the CBI said the issue of remission of sentence was solely between Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Perarivalan and it was for the Governor to decide whether to release him. Perarivalan’s mother has applied to the Tamil Nadu Governor for his release.
Perarivalan was not needed for further investigation by the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) into the “larger conspiracy” behind Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, the CBI said.
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.
In its May 1999 order, the top court had upheld the death sentence of four convicts – Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham and Nalini.
In April 2000, the Tamil Nadu governor had commuted the death sentence of Nalini on the basis of the state government’s recommendation.
On February 18, 2014, it had commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment, along with that of two other prisoners – Santhan and Murugan – on the grounds of 11-year delay in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.
As the Tamil Nadu Governor sits over Perarivalan’s clemency plea for over two years, the Supreme Court had on November 3 expressed displeasure over it and asked lawyers in the case to suggest what could be done to break the impasse.
“We don’t want to exercise our jurisdiction at this stage but we are not happy that a recommendation made by the government is pending for two years,” the Bench had said.
The top court had asked petitioner Perarivalan’s counsel if it could exercise its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution to request the Governor to decide his plea for pardon filed under Article 161 which empowers a Governor to grant pardon to a convict in a criminal case.
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