Perarivalan release: A timeline of events since Rajiv Gandhi's assassination
New Delhi, May 18: Invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court Wednesday ordered the release of A G Perarivalan, who has served over 30 years in jail in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said the Tamil Nadu state cabinet's advice recommending the premature release of all seven convicts in the case was binding on the governor.
Here is the timeline of events since Rajiv Gandhi assassination:
May 21, 1991: Former PM Rajiv Gandhi assassinated in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a suicide bomber. He was campaigning for the elections. The incident killed 16 and left injured.
He was killed by an assassin of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Dhanu (Thenmozhi Rajarathinam), who detonated the explosive-laden belt under her vest as she bent down to touch Rajiv Gandhi's feet. Sixteen persons including Rajiv Gandhi and Dhanu were killed in the blast and around 45 persons were critically injured.
June 11, 1991: CBI arrests AG Perarivalan arrested by CBI and booked under now-revoked TADA for facilitating the killing of the former PM.
January 12, 1998: The TADA court sentenced 26 accused including Perarivalan to death for their involvement in Gandhi's assasination.
May 11, 1999: The SC upholds death sentence of four including Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan and Nalini. The apex court acquitted 19 persons from the case.
April 19, 2000: M Karunanidhi's Tamil Nadu government recommended the governor of the state to commute the death sentence awarded to Nalini. Sonia Gandhi too appeals to the President of India to commute her death sentence.
April 21, 2000: Two days later, Nalini's death penalty is commuted to life by the then Tamil Nadu governor.
Jan 21, 2014: The Supreme Court commutes death penalty of three Rajiv Gandhi case convicts, along with 12 others including aides of forest brigand Veerappan, into life imprisonment.
February 19, 2014: J Jayalalithaa, the then CM of Tamil Nadu, decides to release all seven convicts under section 432 [Power to suspend or remit sentences] of the Criminal Procedure Code.(CrPC). However, the apex court stays the release of all seven convicts after the Union Government move the court against the state government's decision.
2015: Seeking release under Article 161 of the Constitution, Perarivalan submits a mercy petition to the Tamil Nadu governor. A few months later, he submits a mercy petition in SC.
August 2017: For the first time, Perarivalan gets parole to meet his ailing father.
September 9, 2018: Edappadi Palaniswami's Tamil Nadu Cabinet recommends the release of all seven convicts.
May 2021: Perarivalan comes out on parole again and MK Stalin's DMK government kept extending the parole.
March 9, 2022: The SC grants bail to Perarivalan and two days later he concludes the hearing in the case.
May 18, 2022: Supreme Court orders release of Perarivalan from jail.