Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: Supreme Court unhappy with CBI probe report on ‘larger conspiracy’

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 Supreme Court expressed its unhappiness with the status report of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the probe into the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991.

Instead of revealing the progress made to unearth the truth, the report filed in the Supreme Court by the investigating agency merely parrots its past reports over the years.

“We are not happy with the report,” a Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta said on Tuesday.

The court called for the presence of a senior law officer, an Additional Solicitor General to appear and kept the case on hold to be taken up later.

After half-an-hour, the case came up again. This time, Justice Rao expressed the court’s dissatisfaction without mincing words.

“There is no difference between this report and the ones filed before. Everything said is quite the same as before... going to Bangkok or something... What we want to know is what progress has been made (in the investigation) in the past two years at least,” Justice Rao observed.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A.G. Perarivalan, submitted that the CBI Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), probing the larger conspiracy behind the killing, was yet to conclude its investigation pertaining to the origin and make of the bomb.

The Bench allowed Perarivalan’s lawyers to peruse the CBI report in the courtroom. The report was filed in a sealed cover. The court finally ordered the CBI to file a fresh report detailing the work done. The case is listed on January 28.

Perarivalan, who is in mid-forties, has spent about a quarter of a century inside jail serving his life imprisonment. He was 19 at the time of his arrest. Perarivalan has sought an order from the court to stay his life sentence till the MDMA probe into the larger conspiracy is completed. He has argued that CBI has still not been able to question Nixon alias Suren, one among the 21 suspects the MDMA is waiting to investigate, who allegedly knows about the making of the bomb.

He contended his role in the alleged crime taken to the maximum would be that of supplying two nine-volt batteries without the knowledge of what it was going to be used for. He said his confession under the lapsed TADA to a police officer was not valid evidence. The Tamil Nadu government had in 2014 already taken the stand to release him forthwith.

“Further it is essential to state that D.R. Karthikeyan, who was the head of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) CBI, has made statements that the IED was locally made in Sri Lanka. The internal evidence shows that the nine-volt battery was soldered with the IED. If that being the case then in all chance that it could be said that the alleged nine-volt batteries given by the petitioner was not at all used in the IED,” Perarivalan has argued.

He also banked on a coded wireless message from Sivarasan, the mastermind, to Pottu Amman in Sri Lanka, that only he (Sivarasan), Subha and the suicide bomber, Dhanu, knew of the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi.

‘Grave prejudice’

Alleging that “a grave prejudice” has been caused on him, Perarivalan said he was a “19-year-old boy when his mother handed over to the CBI and now he is 45 years old, lost all his prime youth in prison that too in death row under solitary confinement for more than 16 years”. He said his “aged mother and father are waiting for their only son to join at least in the last years of their life”.

Describing his case as “unique” and relating the harsh circumstances under which he pursued an education in prison, he said his health has taken a severe beating from the effects of “death row syndrome”.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:07:33 AM |

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