NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete the probe in a time-bound manner and see if there is a larger conspiracy involved in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Directing the investigation agency to submit the sealed probe status report in four weeks’ time, a Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said that the larger conspiracy behind the assassination has to be probed.
The observation came while hearing a plea of A G Perarivalan, one of the convicts whose death sentence was commuted to life term in the case. His plea stated that neither the CBI nor the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency headed by it had proceeded with the probe in a proper perspective to bring the accused to book, as several high profile people were involved in the case. He also mentioned that he had already spent nearly 25 years in prison and had been seeking proper investigation is his right.
“This has to be investigated. May be not at his (petitioner’s) instance, but this needs investigation,” the Bench observed.
It was in 1998 that Justice M C Jain Commission recommended further probe into various conspiracies behind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to unearth a larger conspiracy.
The Bench also told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, appearing for the CBI, that any legal hurdle faced by the agency and steps taken by it to complete the probe should be a part of the status report. The ASG replied that investigation will take some time as the accused were absconding and as extradition proceedings were required. Singh objected to the petition filed by Perarivalan and said, “His conviction has been upheld by the apex court, while the probe into several aspects of the case was going on.”
“With or without him (Perarivalan), this matter has to be investigated. What benefits he may get out of the investigation will be seen later,” the Bench said and fixed the hearing for August 16.
The apex court had earlier sought the response of the Centre and CBI on the plea that alleged that the latter did not probe the conspiracy behind the Rajiv Gandhi case in 1991, despite an order from a TADA court in Chennai.
The SC had on February 18, 2014, commuted Perarivalan’s death sentence to life imprisonment, along with two others — Santhan and Murugan – on the grounds of a delay of 11 years in deciding on their mercy pleas.