Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Perarivalan can’t be released for now, says SC

His petition for suspension of sentence will get full length hearing on January 24.

Published: 13th December 2017 02:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th December 2017 08:04 AM   |  A+A-

Perarivalan being escorted out of prison | Express

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled out for now a plea to suspend the life sentence of A G Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case pending the completion of the probe by the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) of the CBI in the larger conspiracy aspect.

Referring to the reports filed by the CBI, the court observed that the investigation in relation to the larger conspiracy behind the assassination does not appear to have achieved much headway and could be endless. “The Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency is investigating the larger conspiracy. From the reports, it does not seem that there is much headway. So this enquiry could be endless,” a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi said.

The court referred to the CBI reports filed in the matter relating to the plea of convict Perarivalan and observed that it does not appreciate his “single point agenda” that the sentence be suspended pending completion of the MDMA probe. “Yours is a case where the conviction has attained finality. Releasing you will be in an extraordinary circumstance. We do not know when the probe will end,” the Bench said, adding that “releasing at this stage perhaps will not be a correct thing to do”.

The MDMA, set up in 1998 on the recommendations of Justice M C  Jain Commission of Inquiry, which had probed the conspiracy aspect in Rajiv’s assassination, is headed by a CBI official and comprises officers from Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Revenue Intelligence and others. “Your (Perarivalan) prayer is that you be released till the conclusion of the probe. The MDMA is investigating the larger conspiracy aspect,” the Bench said.

When the Bench asked advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, who appeared for Perarivalan, that he has not sought to reopen of the case, the council said their review petition has been decided and conviction has attained finality. The court then said that the matter required a full-length hearing and posted it for January 24. The court also arrayed the Centre as a party after Perarivalan’s counsel said the Union of India was not formally a party in the matter. It also asked the Centre and the CBI to respond to the averments made by the convict.

Shankarnarayanan told the Bench that Perarivalan has spent over 26 years in jail and they had moved the Madras HC earlier on the issue of conspiracy behind the making of the belt bomb, which was being probed by MDMA. He also referred to an affidavit by V Thiagarajan, the then SPI of CBI. Referring to it, Shankarnarayanan argued the officer had said that Perarivalan while making a confessional statement had expressly stated that at the time of purchase of batteries, he had no idea for what purpose they were going to be used.

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