SC Displeased with CBI on Rajiv Gandhi murder conspiracy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure on the CBI's status report on the investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991.

Instead of revealing the progress made to unearth the truth, the report filed in the apex court by the investigating agency merely parrots its past reports over the years, the court said.

"We are not happy with the report," a Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta said.

The court called for the presence of a senior law officer, an Additional Solicitor General, to appear and kept the case on hold to be taken up later.

After half an hour, the case came up again. This time, Justice Rao expressed the court's dissatisfaction without mincing words.

"There is no difference between this report and the ones filed before. Everything said is quite the same as before... going to Bangkok or something... What we want to know is what progress has been made (in the investigation) in the past two years at least," Justice Rao asked.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict AG Perarivalan, submitted that the CBI Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), probing the larger conspiracy behind the killing, was yet to conclude its investigation pertaining to the origin and make of the bomb.

The Bench allowed Perarivalan's lawyers to peruse the CBI report in the courtroom. The report was filed in a sealed cover. The court finally ordered the CBI to file a fresh report detailing the work done and listed the case on January 28.

Perarivalan, who is in mid-forties, has spent about a quarter of a century inside jail serving his life imprisonment. He was 19 years old at the time of his arrest. He has sought an order from the court to stay his life sentence till the MDMA probe into the larger conspiracy is completed.

He has argued that CBI has still not been able to question Nixon @ Suren, one of the 21 suspects the MDMA is enduring to investigate, who allegedly knows about the making of the bomb.

His contention is his role in the alleged crime was limited to that of supplying two nine-volt batteries without the knowledge of what it was going to be used for. He said his confession under the lapsed TADA to a police officer was not valid evidence. The Tamil Nadu government had in 2014 already taken the stand to release him forthwith.

“Further it is essential to state that DR Karthikeyan, who was the head of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) CBI, has made statements that the IED was locally made in Sri Lanka. The internal evidence shows that the nine-volt battery was soldered with IED. If that being the case, it could be said the alleged nine-volt batteries given by the petitioner was not at all used in the IED,” Perarivalan has argued.

He also banked on a coded wireless message from Sivarasan, the mastermind, to Pottu Amman in Sri Lanka, that only he (Sivarasan), Subha and the suicide bomber, Dhanu, knew of the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi.

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