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Thirty years back, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur near Chennai by a woman suicide bomber Dhanu at an election rally held by the Congress party.
AG Perarivalan is among the seven convicts — Perarivalan, Nalini, Murugan alias Sriharan, Santhan, Ravichandran, Robert Payas and Jayakumar — who were given death sentences. However, after several years, the death sentences were converted into life sentences and the convicts are serving their respective jail terms.
AG Perarivalan was only 19 years old when he was arrested on 11 June 1991. He was imprisoned after he was found guilty of conspiring to assassinate the former PM. Post his arrest, he continued to pursue his further studies in prison.
Perarivalan, who would now be 50-year-old, still maintains that he had nothing to do with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and was clueless about it. He said he was just asked to arrange one nine-volt battery, which he did.
However, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was of the opinion that he was guilty. The CBI also claimed that he was in touch with the masterminds who killed Gandhi and that he had even exchanged few messages vis-à-vis Gandhi’s assassination. After going to jail, he appeared for this 12th boards exam, in which he secured 91.33%.
Perarivalan became the highest scorer prisoner in the history of Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai. He also bagged a gold medal in a diploma course at Tamil Nadu Open University. He pursued course of Bachelor in Computer Application (BCA) in Indira Gandhi Open University and completed his MCA.
Perarivalan also runs a music band in jail with his prison inmates. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, on Thursday, ordered to provide 30 days of ordinary leave to Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict AG Perarivalan on medical grounds.
Soon, Perarivalan’s mother Arputham Ammal said, “I thank Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin for swiftly granting leave by understanding the feelings of a mother, learning about Arivu’s health and reviewing the petition.”
On May 18, Arputham Ammal, on social media, said, “The COVID-19 spread and the consequent deaths in Tamil Nadu prisons are creating a frightening situation. The prison medical team has already said that the infections create a risky situation for Perarivalan, who is already suffering from several other diseases. Also, there is a need to continue his medical treatment.”
She added, “So I have sent a plea seeking a long leave on May 10. Considering these, I request CM Stalin should review the petitions and swiftly take action."