Asked if the commutation was a setback to the prosecution, the former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation said the investigating agency had done its job in all fairness.

Former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation D.R. Kaarthikeyan, who spearheaded investigation in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case on Tuesday, described the Supreme Court’s verdict as “fair and logical”.

While the State was in two minds whether to carry out the execution or not, and remained indecisive on the mercy pleas for about 11 years, the appeal of the convicts seeking commutation of their death sentence was well justified considering the mental agony they had to suffer for years, he said.

“The commutation does not mean that they are pardoned...the conviction remains. There was an inordinate delay in disposing the mercy petitions and the convicts went to court seeking relief. This does not alter the charges against them which we have proved beyond reasonable doubt in our probe,” Mr. Kaarthikeyan said.

Asked if the commutation was a setback to the prosecution, he said the investigating agency had done its job in all fairness.

“Our investigation was upheld and appreciated by the Supreme Court. We have nothing against the convicts, and nobody is pleased when someone is hanged. As far I am concerned, the investigation was successful and we were able to accomplish the task assigned to us with absolute professionalism...this is not a setback.”

As regards abolishing death penalty in India, Mr. Kaarthikeyan said it was up to the nation to take a decision. Since conducting a referendum on the issue was not practical, he reiterated his stand calling for a special session of Parliament.

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