Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC notice to CBI over convict's plea

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC notice to CBI over convict's plea”

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to take decision case in three month's time on the Tamil Nadu government's proposal in 2014 by which it had asked for remitting the sentences of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.

Santhan, Murugan, Nalini, Perarivalan, Robert Paes, Jayakumar and Ravichandran were awarded death penalty in the case which was reduced to life sentence in 2014 by the apex Court.

Perarivalan has sought the recall of the 1999 judgement after Superintendent of Police, who investigated the case, said in an affidavit that he had not recorded Perarivalan's statement that he was not aware the objective for which the batteries supplied by him would be used.

He has sought the recall after Superintendent of Police V. Thiyagarajan, who recorded his confessional statement under TADA, said in an affidavit that the investigating agency suppressed the part of Perarivalan's statement that he was not aware of the conspiracy and the objective for which the two 9-Volts batteries supplied by him would be used.

The CBI told the court that the conspiracy behind the bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi could not be investigated as the "Sri Lankan authorities were not cooperating".

In 2017, Perarivalan had asked for a reprieve saying that the CBI dropped the part in his confession where he said he had "absolutely no idea" what the batteries were for.

Asserting that "a grave prejudice" has been caused on him, Perarivalan adds that he was a "19-year-old boy when his mother handed him over to the CBI and now he is 45 years old, lost all his prime youth in prison and in death row under solitary confinement for more than 16 years".

The T.N. proposal contained in a letter, dating back to February 19, 2014, spurred the Centre to move the Supreme Court. A multi-agency probe was set up in 1998 on the recommendation of the Jain Commission which investigated the Rajiv Gandhi assassination conspiracy. After this, the then Tamil Nadu Govt. headed by the late Jayalalithaa took a decision to release all the seven main accused and sought Centre's views in this regard as Centre's CBI had taken up the decades-long investigation in the case.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber of the separatist Lankan Tamil outfit LTTE, identified as Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.

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