A.G. Perarivalan walks out of the Chennai jail
The relief on the faces of A.G. Perarivalan and his family members following the Supreme Court's order for his release after 31 years in jail was palpable. He was arrested and convicted in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case.
The apex court on Wednesday ordered Perarivalan's release.
Perarivalan, his father Kuildasan, mother Arputhammal, sister Anbumani, and others, living in Jolarpettai of Tamil Nadu's Tirupathur district, turned emotional on hearing the apex court's order.
Speaking to reporters, Perarivalan said: "For the past 31 years, only the legal fight was in our minds. I have been released only today. I have to breathe now. I will discuss with my family about my future."
Thanking various lawyers, who had appeared for him, Perarivalan said he had spent a major part of his life in legal fights.
To a question, he said it will be an uphill task if a common man gets caught in such a case. He said he is opposed to the death penalty. My 31 years in prison is the message," he said. On the impact of his release on the remaining six convicts in the case, he said: "I have to study the judgment." He thanked the Late Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer for writing to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his release.
"Justice Krishna Iyer in his letter told Singh '...I kneel before you for my release," Perarivalan said.
Perarivalan said his legal fight has consumed the life of his parents.
"Now my son has to think about his future," Arputhammal, mother of Periravalan said.
"At last the issue has come to an end. All these years we were focused on his release. Now we will decide on his future," Perarivalan's sister Anbumani said.
Perarivalan, presently on bail, had been granted parole earlier on many occasions by the state government. Perarivalan was at his home when the Supreme Court gave his release order.