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Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC wants report on ‘larger plot’

A view of the Supreme Court of India.

A view of the Supreme Court of India.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Convict Perarivalan condemns almost two-decade-long CBI investigation, saying it is ‘cloaked in secrecy’

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the CBI to submit a detailed status report, replete with the time-frame by which its prolonged investigation into a possible larger conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi will be completed.

A bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi gave four weeks' time for the premier agency to submit a sealed cover report indicating the legal hurdles in conducting the two-decade-old probe and steps taken so far to overcome these roadblocks.

The order was passed on a petition filed by A.G. Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case. He has alleged that there has not been an effective probe into the “larger conspiracy” behind the 1991 killing of the national leader. He has claimed that an “effective and straight-forward investigation may bring material contrary to the prosecution case”.

Perarivalan, who is lodged in the Vellore Prison in Tamil Nadu, claimed that he has spent 25 years in prison, and has every right as a citizen to seek that a proper investigation is carried out in the assassination a national leader of this country.

Appearing for CBI, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh submitted that the probe is prolonged because there are several difficulties, including the fact that many of the suspects are absconders and outside the country, and so they require to be extradited first.

To this, the Bench said the probe has to be completed and if there is any benefit accruing to the petitioner (Perarivalan) from the result of the enquiry, he should surely get it.

 

The story of the ‘larger conspiracy’ angle started in 1998 when the Justice M.C. Jain Commission of Inquiry (JCI) recommended further probe into “various conspiraciesbehind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi”.

After placing the recommendation before the parliament, the government set up a Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) in the CBI to follow up on Jain Commission's work.

In July 1999, the designated TADA Court allowed the MDMA to probe the larger conspiracy angle. However, in 2013, Perarivalan complained to the TADA Court that the probe was both “feeble and pandering”. But the TADA court dismissed the plea.

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC wants report on ‘larger plot’
 

A subsequent appeal in the Madras High Court to direct the TADA Court to effectively monitor the investigation was not entertained in 2015. He claimed that the TADA court had not even deemed it necessary to open the several probe reports filed before it in sealed covers.

In his petition before the Supreme Court, Perarivalan condemned the almost two-decade-long CBI investigation, which he said was cloaked in secrecy.

“It is imminent to state that the persons benefited from the assassination would be powerful and the suspects/accused may be one among them. All these aspects cannot be based on surmises and assumptions but has to be the outcome of a thorough Investigation. However the CBI has only undertaken a namesake and feeble investigation so far in the left out aspects of the assassination case for the past 16 years,” Perarivalan said in petition.

He claimed that CBI has more to conceal than to reveal and “is scared of the skeletons which may stumble out of their own cupboard”.

The petition said it was essential and expedient in the interest of justice that the investigation into the larger conspiracy be “strictly monitored” by the trial court or preferably by the High court till the investigation reaches its logical conclusion. The case is scheduled for August 16.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 9:27:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajiv-gandhi-assassination-sc-seeks-status-report-on-cbi-probe/article18347616.ece

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