Perarivalan was neck-deep in the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi, CBI tells SC

Perarivalan had appealed to the apex court to recall his conviction.

Updated - March 12, 2018 10:33 pm IST

Published - March 12, 2018 11:43 am IST - New Delhi

A.G. Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A.G. Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday objected to a move by the Supreme Court to re-look a 20-year-old verdict finding A.G. Perarivalan, a convict in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, guilty. The CBI, in a 47-page response, said Perarivalan was "neck-deep" in the conspiracy to kill Gandhi. He was an "Indian LTTE-er" who visited Jaffna and returned. He had helped the assassination's mastermind Sivadasan to build a clandestine radio and bought the batteries for the belt bomb, which killed Gandhi, the agency submitted. In fact, the CBI said Perarivalan made a concerted attempt to remove incriminating evidence from his house to that of a friend. The CBI rubbished former agency interrogator V. Thiagarajan's claims that he deliberately blacked part of Perarivalan's confession, which had proved the then 19-year-old boy's innocence and that he had no knowledge of the assassination conspiracy. Mr. Thiagarajan was cross-examined at the trial and he had not then flinched from his statement zeroing in on Perarivalan's guilt. The agency said the application to recall the judgment is only an attempt to get a second review of the judgment. The relief of a review petition is limited and does not entail a re-hearing on merits. A judgment once given is final. The only recourse open for Perarivalan is a curative petition in the apex court, alleging he was denied natural justice by reason of judicial bias, the CBI said. Perarivalan alleged his conviction was garnered by “playing fraud” on the Supreme Court. A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R. Banumathi had issued notice to the CBI, the prosecuting agency. Perarivalan, represented by advocates Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Pirabu Subramanian, was 19 years old when the CBI arrested him in June 1991 for his involvement in the assassination at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu at the venue of a political rally by a suicide bomber wearing a belt bomb. He was found guilty of purchasing two nine-volt batteries for the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) used in the killing. The Supreme Court had confirmed his death sentence on May 11, 1998 on a death reference. His death penalty was commuted to life sentence by the Supreme Court in February 2014. Now, in his mid-forties, Perarivalan has spent over 26 years in prison.

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