SC to look into conspiracy behind bomb making in Rajiv Gandhi case

PTI
Thursday, 17 August 2017

"What is the result of the re-investigation or further investigation on this aspect? Kindly address us on this. We want only this," a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. The apex court fixed the matter for further hearing next week.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to inform it about the investigation on the conspiracy aspect behind making of the bomb that had killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

The apex court asked the government about the probe being carried out on this aspect, after one of the convicts in the assassination case claimed that this issue has not been properly investigated.

"What is the result of the re-investigation or further investigation on this aspect? Kindly address us on this. We want only this," a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. The apex court fixed the matter for further hearing next week.

Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for convict A G Perarivalan, told the bench that there were several issues, including the conspiracy behind making of the bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi, which were not investigated properly in the case.

Death sentence of Perarivalan, who was charged with supplying batteries for the belt-bomb worn by suicide bomber Dhanu that killed Rajiv Gandhi, was earlier commuted to life term by the apex court.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by the suicide bomber at an election rally. 14 others were also killed then. This was perhaps the first case of suicide bombing which had claimed the life of a high-profile global leader.

The apex court was hearing a plea in the matter by Perarivalan who has alleged that neither the CBI's special investigation team, nor the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) headed by it, had proceeded with the probe in a proper perspective to bring the accused to book, as several top people were involved in it.

The bench had earlier asked the CBI to file a detailed investigation report along with a time-frame within which the probe would be completed and had said the larger conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has to be investigated.

It had also directed the agency to indicate the legal hurdles, if any, and the steps taken to overcome these issues.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had told the court that investigation was going on and it would take some time as some accused were absconding.

The apex court had also sought the response of the Centre and the CBI on the plea which has alleged that CBI did not probe the conspiracy behind the killing of Rajiv Gandhi despite an order from a TADA court in Chennai.

The apex court had on Febraury 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 plea by the Centre.

Perarivalan had earlier sought case dairies pertaining to CBI and MDMA, which had probed the matter.

He had also referred to the inquiry report of the Justice Jain Commission that had probed the conspiracy aspect of the assassination and which had formed the basis for the TADA court's order for a further probe to identify the role of individuals to uncover the larger conspiracy in the murder.

The convict had alleged that the CBI and the MDMA, which were entrusted with the task to probe the facts, have not done their work properly.

"The grievance of the petitioner is that the designated TADA Court was monitoring the pending investigation on paper only, but without knowing the actual facts of the investigation being conducted by CBI (MDMA) for the last about 17 years.

"The TADA Court merely collected sealed covers cluelessly, that too in-chamber vide in-camera proceedings, from the investigating agency every three months, once without even opening the said covers for so many years," the plea has claimed. 

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