“Waking up every morning not knowing whether you will live or die is something unbearable. Uncertainty has been going on for quite a long time. The convicts have the right to know when the sentence will be executed. Obviously, there seems to have been some hesitation from the part of government in executing the sentence. Hence the Supreme Court verdict is reasonable and expected,” said former CBI Director D R Karthikeyan, who probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, on the sidelines of the apex court’s verdict commuting the death sentence of the convicts to life term.
Terming the apex court verdict an ‘expected one’, Karthikeyan said that if the government wanted to execute the sentence it could have done it much earlier.
“This has been going on for 23 years. Keeping them waiting for long is not correct,” he pointed out.
On a day when the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of three guilty - Murukan, Santhan and Perarivalan - Karthikeyan recalled how he went from crime to criminals in a case which was at a dead end.
“We began a blind probe. On May 21, 1991, I was in Hyderabad at my official residence as the IG of CRPF. At night, I got a call from Chennai PTI Correspondent about the incident. Next morning, calls came from Delhi persuading me to take up the investigation. I was told that I was considered the most suitable person to investigate a blind case. I took up the probe on condition that there will not be any politics.
“We began the probe, on the basis of evidence. Later on I was told that when the probe was offered, none in the CBI was willing to take up. Because, on the first hand there was no clue.
“Second if it was not detected he would be condemned. And if detected, it could be a deadly terrorist group; they could even kill the investigator. But I took up the case as a duty to the nation. I never allowed any politics in the probe,” he pointed out.
Referring to the ongoing move to abolish death sentence, Karthikeyan said it is for each country to decide.
“Each country has to decide on its own whether it is ready for it. Is India prepared to abolish death sentence at a time when suicide attacks and hired killings are going on? The nation has to decide.”
Karthikeyan is of the view that a special session of Parliament should meet exclusively for the topic and the MPs should express their views and at the end of the session, a voting should be carried out.
“In the rarest of the rare cases when all the rest of the measures are exhausted and the Judiciary makes a decision to give death sentence, it should be executed immediately; without allowing any sort of politics.
“If a death sentence is commuted to life, they should spent their entire life in prison. Otherwise, there won’t be any deterrent,” he pointed out.