Rajiv Gandhi killing: SC seeks Centre's response on convict's plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought within two weeks the Centre's response on a plea by A.G. Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination conspiracy case, for suspension of his sentence.

The convict pleaded that his sentence should be suspended since the Central Bureau of Investigation's Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) was yet to conclude its probe into the conspiracy behind the making of a bomb (Improvised Explosive Device) that killed the former Prime Minister on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha asked the Centre to respond. Perarivalan was convicted for supplying two nine-volt batteries used in the IED used in Gandhi's assassination by a suicide bomber from the LTTE.

The court was told that the MDMA was set up 18 years ago to probe the larger conspiracy, including the origin and make of IED, and investigations had not concluded till date.

Perarivalan's counsel Gopal Shankarnarayan told the court that the one of the primary purposes of constituting the MDMA was to investigate the larger conspiracy, trace the origin and make of the IED used but the CBI had not been able to conclude its investigation.

Perarivalan has already spent 26 years in jail. He was awarded death sentence, which was commuted by the top court in February 2014, on grounds of long delay in deciding his and other death row convicts' mercy petition by the President.

Perarivalan's plea for the suspension of his sentence is based on an affidavit by the then CBI Superintendent of Police V. Thiagarajan which says that Perarivalan did admit during interrogation that he had supplied the two batteries used in the IED but he had no clue about their use and larger conspiracy to assassinate the former Prime Minister.

The top court had, on August 17, directed the Centre to inform it about investigations into the conspiracy behind the making of the belt bomb carried by the suicide bomber, a young woman identified as Dhanu.

"What is the result of the re-investigation or further investigation on this aspect? Kindly address us on this. We want only this," the court told the government counsel.

The court on May 1 asked the CBI to give a time frame within which it would complete the investigation into the larger conspiracy into the assassination.


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