Death sentence was done in 1998
The TADA court sentenced him to death in 1998, days after politics began over the release of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case. The first major political decision on the issue was taken by Karunanidhi, when he chaired the cabinet recommending the death penalty for Nalini in 2000. Subsequently, Jayalalithaa attacked the DMK. In 2009, his attitude towards Lankan Tamils changed.
Jayalalithaa had taken the decision of release
However it was the DMK that pitched itself as a party fighting for its cause. The AIDMK was taken by surprise when Jayalalithaa announced in 2014 that she would release the convicts. It was the day the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan. The Congress government approached the Supreme Court against the decision of the Jayalalithaa government and Jayalalithaa had to stay her decision. Years later, it was his successor, the K Palaniswami government, that sent a recommendation to the Center to release the seven convicts.
Congress was afraid of being anti-Tamil
Writer SV Rajadurai, who mobilized support for Perarivalan’s release, said that over the years, while the DMK and AIDMK supported the release, the Congress and the BJP opposed them. The Congress remained in a critical position as it could neither oppose nor support the release for fear of being anti-Tamil. On Wednesday too, the Congress expressed displeasure over the release. TNCC chief KS Alagiri said, “We don’t want to criticize the Supreme Court verdict, but we want to reiterate that the guilty are murderers.”