NEW DELHI: In a new twist to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a former Central Bureau of Investigation officer told the Supreme Court that he had omitted part of the confession statement of the then 19-year-old A G Perarivalan, one of the convicts serving time in prison, wherein Arivu said he had absolutely no idea of the purpose for which two nine volt batteries he bought would be put to use.
The affidavit comes at a time when Perarivalan has already spent 26 years in solitary confinement for procuring the two batteries that were used in the belt bomb that killed the former prime minister in 1991 at Tamil Nadu.
Perarivalan has approached the Supreme Court seeking suspension of his sentence till the investigating agencies complete their probe in the case. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the SC in February 2014. He was arrested weeks after the assassination.
The convict said he had 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 and claimed that the State government has sought concurrence of the Centre on remission, but the Centre has not taken any decision in the matter for the past two years.
“He (Perarivalan) had stated that in the first week of May 1991 he purchased two 9 volt (Golden Power brand) batteries and gave it to Sivarasan as asked by him. It was further mentioned in the statement that this battery was used in the bomb blast. However, the accused while making the confessional statement before me did expressly state that at the time of purchase of the batteries he had absolutely no idea as to for what purpose they were going to be used,” stated the affidavit by Thiagarajan, the former CBI officer, dated October 27 said.
Arguing before a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Perarivalan’s counsel said, “The person who made the bomb is in a prison in Sri Lanka and the investigating agencies have till date not questioned this man. Then why Perarivalan is languishing in solitary confinement for 26 years?”
The court directed the Centre to decide within two weeks whether it agrees with the TN government’s decision to grant Perarivalan remission and fixed the case for further hearing on December 6.
“Even the knowledge that the batteries were used in the bomb explosion was only a speculation after the event. At that point of time as the investigation was still in progress we were not sure about the particular statement of accused and therefore the same was omitted to be recorded in the confessional statement,” the affidavit stated.
Thiagarajan also stated, “He (Perarivalan) was totally in the dark as to the purpose for which the batteries were purchased. It was not recorded by me, because it would have been an exculpatory statement and hence the whole purpose of recording the confessional statement would be lost.”