Not much headway in Rajiv murder conspiracy probe, says SC

RSTV Bureau
File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

Not much of headway has been achieved in the CBI-led investigation in the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Supreme Court has said. The remarks came in the hearing of a plea of the convict, AG Perarivalan, who is seeking suspension of sentence till the CBI concluded its probe.

The apex court referred to the reports filed before it by the CBI and observed that the investigation by the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) could be “endless”.

The MDMA is headed by a CBI official and comprises officers from three key intelligence agencies — IB, RAW and Revenue Intelligence, among other agencies.

“The MDMA is investigating the larger conspiracy. From CBI reports, it doesn’t seem that there is much headway. So this enquiry could be endless,” a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi said.

The top court has also arrayed the Centre as a party in the plea. The matter has now been fixed for further hearing on January 24.

Earlier on November 14, the bench had asked the government to respond to Perarivalan’s plea, clarifying its stand. Perarivalan’s death sentence was earlier commuted to life term by the apex court.

In his plea, Perarivalan has told the court that he was held guilty for supplying two nine-volt batteries which were allegedly used in the improvised explosive device (IED) that killed Gandhi on May 21, 1991, but the probe by CBI-led MDMA relating to the IED was still going on.

The convict has said he has spent 26 years behind bars in connection with the case, while the Tamil Nadu government has already decided to set him free by remitting the remaining portion of his sentence.

FILE: File Photo of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi along with senior leaders of the Congress party as the AICC headquarters in New Delhi.

FILE: File Photo of former Prime Minister (late) Rajiv Gandhi along with senior leaders of the Congress party as the AICC headquarters in New Delhi.

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

This was perhaps the first case of suicide bombing which had claimed the life of a high-profile global leader.

The Centre had earlier filed in a sealed cover a report on the investigation being carried out on the conspiracy aspect behind the making of the bomb that had killed Gandhi.

The apex court had on August 17 asked the Centre and CBI to apprise it of the probe being carried out on the conspiracy aspect behind the making of bomb after Perarivalan had claimed that this aspect was not being probed properly.

The apex court had on February 18, 2014 commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment, along with two other condemned prisoners — Santhan and Murugan – on grounds of a delay of 11 years in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.

(With inputs from PTI)