Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Probe ‘could be endless’ but no Supreme Court relief to convict

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at an election rally on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 13, 2017 1:40:32 am
Supreme court, Open jail, MHA, SC on open jails, KK venugopal, Semi-open prison, Union territories The Supreme Court building. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

THE SUPREME Court Tuesday voiced difficulties in suspending the sentence of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict A G Perarivalan until the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) concluded investigations into the larger conspiracy behind the crime.

“Your conviction and sentence has attained finality. So letting you out on interim bail would be an extraordinary situation. Investigation itself may take years…we don’t know where it will go,” a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogi and R Banumathi said while hearing a plea by the convict.

Referring to a CBI report dated August 22, 2017, the bench said that it “doesn’t seem much headway has been made”, and “in which case, it (duration of the probe) could be endless”.

The court told Perarivalan’s counsel, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, that instead of praying for suspension of sentence he should seek either an early conclusion of the MDMA , or reopening of the case against him. When the bench asked Sankaranarayanan why he had not sought reopening of the case, the counsel said their review petition has been decided and conviction has attained finality. The bench then said that the matter requires full-length hearing and posted it for January 24.

The court also made the Centre a party in the matter.

Perarivalan was held guilty of supplying two nine-volt batteries, which were allegedly used in the improvised explosive device (IED) that killed former PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. However, CBI officer V Thiagarajan, who investigated the case, had subsequently said that he had not recorded the part of Perarivalan’s statement where he said that he had absolutely no idea about the purpose of the batteries when they were bought.

Citing a report filed by MDMA in court, Sankaranarayanan said it stated that one of the men allegedly involved in assembling the bomb was in a Colombo jail, and that the probe agencies had not even interrogated him so far.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at an election rally on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were killed in the explosion.

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