CBI response on Perarivalan sought

Rajiv murder case convict’s plea is in Supreme Court.

Updated - December 01, 2021 06:31 am IST

Published - January 24, 2018 12:46 pm IST - New Delhi

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

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

The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted an application filed by A.G. Perarivalan, a convict in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, to recall the apex court judgment confirming his guilt in the crime.

Perarivalan alleged his conviction was garnered by “playing fraud” on the Supreme Court.

A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R. Banumathi issued notice to the CBI, the prosecuting agency, which has to respond in three weeks.

Purchased batteries

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. Perarivalan 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 SC in February 2014. Now, in his mid-forties, Perarivalan has spent over 26 years in prison.


CBI officer’s stance

However, matters took a sudden turn in 2017 when a CBI officer, V. Thiyagarajan, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating under oath that he deliberately omitted Perarivalan’s exculpatory statement made during the confession that he was “totally in the dark” about the reason why he was instructed to buy the batteries.

On December 12, 2017, Justice Gogoi indicated that the apex court was not averse to reopening the entire case against Perarivalan if the latter chose to file an appropriate application.

In his application filed on Wednesday, Perarivalan highlighted issues which were “essential” to his cause, including how former SC judge, Justice K.T. Thomas, who authored the conviction judgment, pointed out in an interview the “fallacious appreciation of law wherein the confessional statement was admitted as substantial evidence.”

The application states that the CBI’s Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), probing the larger conspiracy behind the assassination, is yet to conclude its investigation pertaining to the origin and make of the bomb. The application argued that CBI has not been able to question Nixon @ Suren, one among the 21 suspects the MDMA is enduring to investigate, who allegedly knows about the making of the bomb.

The next date of hearing is on February 21.

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