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I'm free, let me breathe, says Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict after Supreme Court sets him free

India Today logo India Today 18-05-2022 Pramod Madhav
Perarivalan Perarivalan

Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Perarivalan was set free by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 18. He breathed a palpable sigh of relief. I am free now, Let me breathe, he said.

Perarivalan served 31 years in jail. He was just 19 years old when he was convicted based on his confession.

Speaking to India Today, Perarivalan said, "My first thought is that finally justice has won. My mother is relieved. From 1998 to 2014, I was under capital punishment. It shouldn't be there in any country. It's been abolished in nearly 140 countries. I hope India does it as well. I hope that change occurs," he said.

READ | Supreme Court judge who sentenced Rajiv Gandhi's killers in 1999 calls for release of all convicts

"Without them [family and friends] I wouldn't be here, including the media. You all spoke for a common man. Just like in our Sangham period epic, Silapathikaram, this was a battle of a common man who was framed," he added.

Perarivalan was accused of buying batteries for Srivarasan, the LTTE member, who was the mastermind behind Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. The batteries were used in the bomb that killed the former prime minister.

"It was a huge legal battle. I haven't read the order copy completely. I hope this helps them [other convicts]. Not just them but to any prisoner who is facing such a struggle," he said.

"I want to face the future without any plan, as all this while I was occupied in a legal battle. Now I'm free. Let me breathe," he added, waving goodbye to well wishers who were present during his release.

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