The then SIT chief, D.R. Kaarthikeyan, however says the probe was fair

The imprisonment of A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu, a convict on death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, for over 22 years was unjustified since the conviction was based on a confession statement that lacked clarity and facts, his mother Arputhammal said on Saturday.

A day after the People’s Movement Against Death Penalty released a documentary containing the interview of the former CBI Superintendent of Police, V. Thiagarajan, where he admits that he failed to record verbatim the confession of Perarivalan, 66-year-old Arputhammal said her son should be set free. “We finally see a ray of hope, my family is happy … We welcome the statement of Mr. Thiagarajan. This vindicates our stand that Arivu had no role in the conspiracy and knew nothing about the assassination.”

S. Prabu Ramasubramanian, Perarivalan’s counsel, said the interview proved how the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act curtailed accused persons’ right to prove their innocence.

Referring to the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) probe into the making of the bomb that killed Mr. Gandhi, he said the investigation was not over yet. “We will move the designate trial court to examine the Special Investigation Case (SIT) officials as per the MDMA memorandum. Had the confession of Perarivalan been recorded in full, he would not have been convicted,” Mr. Ramasubramanian told The Hindu over phone from New Delhi.

The former CBI Director, D.R. Kaarthikeyan, who headed the SIT, however said the investigation was perhaps one of the fairest ever done. “Our work was applauded by the court and the Interpol as a model investigation. I don’t want to indulge into any discussion on this subject. No more post-mortem of the investigation or the trial … It is not ethical on my part to comment. I have always said that I have nothing against them [the convicts] and we have done our duty.”

Talking to The Hindu here on Saturday, Mr. Kaarthikeyan said whether the convicts should be executed after so many years of imprisonment was indeed a matter of debate. “I fully agree with the views of Justice K.T. Thomas and Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer on whether the convicts should be executed after 20 years of incarceration.”

‘Tired of answering doubts over probe’

Referring to the remarks made by Mr. Thiagarajan, he said such things could keep coming. Even after 50 years since the assassination of the former U.S. President, John F Kennedy, conspiracy theories were still being debated, he said.

“My memory is not that good. I don’t want to get into any discussion and in fact I have not spoken to him [Mr. Thiagarajan]. After 22 years, I am not willing to enter into any discussion because I am tired of the thousands of hours we spent not only in the investigation and also answering all sorts of doubts that were raised.”

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