On Thursday, the Centre has informed the top court that the Tamil Nadu Governor has proposed that the President of India is the competent authority to deal with the plea by Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict, AG Perarivalan seeking pardon and release from prison.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has submitted an affidavit in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s order dated 22 January 2021, whereby it had asked the Governor to decide the petitioner’s application for remission. The affidavit stated that the Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, has after considering facts and circumstances of the case, recorded that the President would be the competent authority and the Central Government will process the proposal in accordance with the law.
Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Supreme Court that TN Governor, Banwarilal Purohit will decide in three to four days ‘as per the Constitution under Article 161’, on whether to release Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict, AG Perarivalan.
The Supreme Court has in September 2018, asked the Governor to decide the pardon plea as he “deemed fit”. Subsequently, on 9 September 2018, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet recommended to the Governor to remit Perarivalan’s sentence and release him forthwith but the Governor is yet to take a call on the same.
Further, on 3 November 2020, the Top Court had said that the investigation of Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) into the “larger conspiracy” behind Rajiv Gandhi assassination need not deter the Tamil Nadu Governor from deciding the plea for pardon of convicts like AG Perarivalan, who have been serving their sentence in jail for over two decades.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was told by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in October 2020, that the Governor of Tamil Nadu is the competent authority to take a call on the request for remission.
The CBI had also informed the Supreme Court that Perarivalan is not needed for a further investigation conducted by its Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) into the “larger conspiracy” behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.