Centre shuts down MDMA formed to probe Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

The order to disband the MDMA, which was functioning as part of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was issued in May.

October 18, 2022 12:37 pm | Updated 10:43 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Rajiv Gandhi minutes before his assassination at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. Dhanu, the suicide bomber from LTTE, is seen at the extreme left, waiting to approach him.

Rajiv Gandhi minutes before his assassination at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. Dhanu, the suicide bomber from LTTE, is seen at the extreme left, waiting to approach him. | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives.

The Central government has closed the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) which was constituted about 24 years ago to investigate the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The order to disband the MDMA, which was functioning as part of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was issued in May.

Also read: Rajiv Gandhi case convicts are just arrows, MDMA is finding out the bows, Centre tells HC

In 1998, the MDMA was established for a period of two years on the M.C. Jain Commission's recommendation to probe the wider conspiracy behind the assassination by a LTTE suicide bomber at a rally in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.

However, it was being given annual extensions. Over a period of time, the unit had sent about two dozen Letters Rogatory to several countries, including Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the United Kingdom, seeking information. Responses to most of the letters had been received. However, there were no significant inputs.

As the MDMA has now been disbanded, the pending Letters Rogatory would be pursued by the CBI.

In March 2020, then Tamil Nadu Law Minister C.Ve. Shanmugam had said that the State Governor would take a decision on the release of the seven convicts in the case once the MDMA submitted its report on the findings.

The Madras High Court, in August 2020, had asked about the agency’s status while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the mother of one of the convicts, A.G. Perarivalan, requesting for a 90-day leave on health grounds. The Public Prosecutor had then informed the court that the MDMA was active and its probe was under way.

In May this year, the Supreme Court invoked its extraordinary powers to order Perarivalan’s release. He remained in incarceration for over 30 years and was granted bail by the Supreme Court in March. Earlier, in 2014, his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment for murder. The terrorism related charges against him had been withdrawn.

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