A. G. Perarivalan alias Arivu is one of the life-convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. He is accused of buying and supplying a nine-volt battery used in Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that blew up and killed former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991.
A. G. Perarivalan was born on Friday, 30 July 1971 (age 49 years; as in 2020) in Jolarpet, Tamil Nadu. He holds a Diploma in Electronics and Communication Engineering, which he had completed prior to his arrest. He was 19 years old when he was arrested in 1991. While staying in Jail he completed his class 12th in 2012 by scoring 91.33 percent, which was the highest among all the prisoners. Thereafter, he also received a Bachelor of Computer Applications and a Master of Computer Applications degree, both from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) while still being in prison.
Height (approx.): 5′ 11″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Parents & Siblings
His father, T Gnanasekaran (age 78 years, as in 2020) was a Tamil teacher at a government school in Jolarpet. Gnanasekaran also used to write poems in Tamil under the pen name, Kuyildasan. His mother, Arputham Ammal, has been a homemaker since her marriage. She has run from pillar to post between prisons, advocate offices, and courts seeking her son’s release. Thousands of people in Tamil Nadu affectionately call her as Arivamma (amma of Arivu).
He has two sisters, his elder sister A G Anbumani is an engineer with the Rural Development Department, and his younger sister A G Arulselvi teaches at Annamalai University.
Relationships & Children
Perarivalan is unmarried.
Arrest & Sentence
On 11 June 1991, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Perarivalan from his residence in Periyar Thidal, Chennai, for investigation in the assassination case of Rajiv Gandhi. Later, a case was filed under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act [TADA] against Perarivalan for his alleged role in the assassination, and he was found accused of having bought and supplied a 9-volt battery for the explosive device to the assassination mastermind, Sivarasan. He was convicted by the Supreme Court of India in Conspiracy (IPC 120-B) and Murder (IPC 320). On 11 May 1999, the Supreme Court of India pronounced a sentence of death to A. G. Perarivalan. On 18 February 2014, a Supreme Court Bench of the Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam, and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh, commuted the death sentences of Perarivalan along with two other convicts, Murugan and Santhan, into life term imprisonment. Since then, he is lodged in Chennai’s Puzhal Central Prison.
A Major Revelation After 26 Years
There have been a few twists in Perarivalan’s story. It is also believed that A. G. Perarivalan was a victim of flawed investigation. A significant development in the case came after 26 years of his arrest. On 27 October 2017, ex-CBI officer V. Thiagarajan filed an affidavit in the Supreme court of India, claiming that he was the one who had recorded Perarivalan’s confession back in 1991 when the investigation was in process. He further said that he omitted a part of Perarivalan’s confession, wherein he had confessed that he was unaware of the fact that the batteries which he had bought and given to the mastermind, Sivarasan, will be used in the IED that would kill Rajiv Gandhi. He also cited to a wireless message of May 7 1991, sent by the key conspirator, Sivarasan, to a top operative of the LTTE, Pottu Amman. In the message, Sivarasan can be heard saying, “our intention is not known to anybody except we three” — himself, Subha, and Dhanu (the suicide bomber). Perhaps there is a possibility that Perarivalan was not made privy to the conspiracy. However, in 2018, the CBI rubbished former CBI interrogator, V. Thiagarajan’s claims that he deliberately omitted a part of Perarivalan’s confession. The CBI report further said that Perarivalan was deeply involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi.
An Appeal From The Death Row (Rajiv Murder Case — The Truth Speaks): Penned by Perarivalan, this book was released by the Communist Party of India’s general secretary, A B Bardhan, before the death sentence of Perarivalan had not been commuted into a life sentence. The book narrates Perarivalan’s side of the story as a death row convict in prison; comprising the incidents, facts, the handling of the case, and Perarivalan’s letters and appeals for justice. The book is available in three languages, Hindi, English, and Tamil.
- Perarivalan gives coaching classes to the co-prisoners who are preparing to appear for various exams from the prison.
- He also runs a music band with prison inmates.
- Inspired by Perarivalan, an ex-prisoner, Ponnappan, runs an educational trust by the name, “Perarivalan Educational Trust,” which educates the unprivileged children of Tamil Nadu free of cost.
- Due to prolonged confinement, Perarivalan has developed high blood pressure and other health issues.
- In 2016, Perarivalan sustained severe injuries after he was attacked with an iron rod by another life-convict inside the prison.
- Perarivalan failed to get bail or parole until 27 years of his arrest in August 2017, when he was granted one-month parole to spend time with his ailing father. Parole was further extended for another month.
- In November 2019, Perarivalan was again granted parole to attend his sister’s wedding.