Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: AG Perarivalan celebrates release with mother, says ‘Let me breathe a little’

Initially handed capital punishment by a special court in Chennai which was later commuted to life term, Perarivalan said he first wants to "breathe," apparently the air of freedom, before thinking about his future

N ChithraUpdated: Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 03:32 PM IST
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AG Perarivalan, left, alongside his mother Arputhammal and relatives by his side | Twitter/@magilanban1

Chennai: Moments after being set free by the Supreme Court, Perarivalan, Arivu to his family and friends, one of the seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, said he would decide his future course after getting breathing space.

“I have just come out. I have only been able to think of this legal fight for the past 30 years. Let me breathe a little, and then I will decide on the future course of my life,” he told journalists outside his modest house in Jolarpet in north Tamil Nadu, where he had been staying for past few weeks on bail.

Maintaining he was against capital punishment, he acknowledged his aged mother Arputhammal’s support in his fight for release. “Tamils across the world stood in solidarity with me. They thought of me as their own family. My mother is responsible for the kind of support I have received,” he said.

He said his mother had fought for him for 30 years despite all the humiliations and obstacles, “particularly during the early years of my incarceration.”

According to him, every time, a legal battle was lost, he was saddened and was unable to face his mother. “I was saddened I was taking away her life, draining her strength,” he said but added he always hoped would he would be freed in his lifetime.

He also hailed the support of people and his other family members and lawyers who stood by him. He thanked former CBI officer V Thiagarajan for acknowledging years later that he had not recorded his confession “in full”.

His mother Arputhammal said she thanked the Chief Minister and everyone for their support. “People whose faces I do not know have called me and said they stand in solidarity with me. It would bring tears to my eyes. I also want everyone to take a minute to think about how it must feel to spend 30 years in prison,” she said.

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