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Rajiv assassination case: CBI seeks dismissal of A G Perarivalan's plea

The CBI Has Sought Dismissal Of A Plea Filed In The Supreme Court By One Of The Convicts In The Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case Seeking Recall Of The May 1999 Verdict Upholding His Conviction, Saying It Was Not Maintainable And His Role In The Conspiracy Was Clearly Established.

PTI | Updated on: 12 Mar 2018, 10:49:39 PM
Rajiv assassination case: CBI seeks dismissal of A G Perarivalan's plea (File Photo)

New Delhi:

The CBI has sought dismissal of a plea filed in the Supreme Court by one of the convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking recall of the May 1999 verdict upholding his conviction, saying it was not "maintainable" and his role in the conspiracy was "clearly established".

The agency's affidavit came into the public domain today, a day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi said in Singapore that he and his sister Priyanka have "completely forgiven" his father Rajiv Gandhi's killers as they found it "difficult to hate people".

In its affidavit filed in the apex court, the CBI's Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), which is probing the larger conspiracy aspect behind Gandhi's assassination, has said that the application filed by convict A G Perarivalan was "devoid of merit" and liable to be dismissed at the threshold with heavy cost.

It said the "role of the applicant (Perarivalan) herein in the conspiracy resulting in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and others has been upheld by the apex court and overt act has been clearly established by the law".

"Hence, the claim of the applicant that he is innocent and did not have the knowledge about the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi is neither acceptable nor maintainable," the agency said.

The MDMA claimed that Perarivalan's role was not limited to procuring nine-volt batteries alone, which were allegedly used in the improvised explosive device (IED) that had killed Gandhi, since he had visited Jaffna in Sri Lanka in the first week of June 1990, besides attending a public meeting along with other conspirators which was addressed by former Prime Minister V P Singh on May 7, 1991 in Tamil Nadu.

It alleged that Singh's public meeting was a "dry run" to access the security arrangements provided to a former Prime Minister and Perarivalan's "active participation" in Gandhi's assassination was established.

"It is submitted before this court that the application seeks to reopen the whole matter on merits which would not be permissible in application for recall of order. Thus, it is respectfully submitted that the application deserves to be dismissed at the threshold," it said, adding that his review petition was already dismissed by the top court.

"It is humbly submitted that the present application would be an abuse of the process of the court as it seeks to camouflage an application for a second review as an application for recall of order," it said.

The agency told the court that the matter has already attained finality and 45-year-old Perarivalan's death sentence was earlier commuted to life only on the ground of inordinate delay in deciding the mercy petition.

It said investigation regarding the aspect of improvised explosive device used in the belt bomb used by the assassin to kill Gandhi was going on and they have sent letters rogatory to Sri Lanka in this regard.

The MDMA also referred to an affidavit by former CBI official V Thiagarajan, who had recorded confessional statement of Perarivalan under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

Thiagarajan has claimed that the convict had expressly stated that at the time of purchase of batteries, he had absolutely no idea for what purpose these were going to be used.

The MDMA's affidavit said that these issues have already been dealt with earlier.

The affidavit was filed in pursuance of the apex court's January 24 direction asking CBI to respond to Perarivalan's plea seeking recall of the May 11, 1999 order upholding his conviction.

The court had earlier termed as "serious" and "debatable" the questions raised by Perarivalan who has sought recall of the apex court's order saying he was not aware of the conspiracy.

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at a poll rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.

Gandhi's assassination was perhaps the first case of suicide bombing which had claimed the life of a high-profile leader.

In its May 1999 order, the top court had upheld the death sentence of four convicts -- Perarivalan, Murugan, Santham and Nalini -- in the assassination case.

In April 2000, the Tamil Nadu governor had commuted the death sentence of Nalini on the basis of state government's recommendation and an appeal by former Congress president and Rajiv Gandhi's widow Sonia Gandhi.

On February 18, 2014, the top court had commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment, along with that of two other prisoners - Santhan and Murugan - on grounds of a delay of 11 years in deciding their mercy pleas by the Centre.

While hearing Perarivalan's plea earlier, the top court had observed that the probe by CBI's MDMA in the larger conspiracy aspect behind Gandhi's assassination did not appear to have achieved "much headway" and could be "endless".

The MDMA, set up in 1998 on the recommendations of Justice M C Jain Commission of Inquiry which had probed the conspiracy aspect of Gandhi's assassination, is headed by a CBI official and comprises officers from IB, RAW and Revenue Intelligence and other agencies.

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First Published : 12 Mar 2018, 10:48:07 PM