The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a reply from the government on a plea by one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case for suspension of his sentence until the CBI concludes its probe into the conspiracy behind making of the bomb used to kill the former Prime Minister.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha gave the Centre two weeks to clarify its stand on a petition filed by convict A G Perarivalan. The apex court had earlier commuted his death sentence to life.
Perarivalan was held guilty for supplying two nine-volt batteries that were allegedly used in the improvised explosive device (IED) that killed Rajiv in 1991. However, the probe by CBI’s Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) relating to IED has still not concluded.
“One of the primary purposes of further investigation and constitution of MDMA in CBI is to find out the origin and make of the IED and the larger conspiracy that consumed the life of Rajiv Gandhi,” the plea, filed through Perarivalan’s counsel Gopal Shankarnarayanan, said. “However, even after 18 years of investigation, the CBI could not conclude its investigation with relation to the IED, its origin and make due to one reason or the other.”
Perarivalan, 45, also referred to an affidavit filed by V Thiagarajan, the then superintendent of police of CBI, and claimed that his conviction was based on his confessional statement recorded by this officer.
Thiagarajan, it claimed, had said in his affidavit that Perarivalan, while making a confessional statement before him, expressly stated that at the time of purchase of the batteries, he had absolutely no idea for what purpose these were going to be used.
Referring to his affidavit, the convict claimed that the CBI officer had said at that point in time, as the probe was still in progress, they were not sure about it and thus, this particular statement was “omitted” from being recorded in the confessional statement.
Perarivalan said he had spent 26 years behind bars in connection with the case while the Tamil Nadu government has already decided to set him free by remitting the remaining portion of his sentence.
He claimed the state government has sought concurrence of the Centre on remission of his sentence, but the Centre has not taken any decision in the matter for the past two years.