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Rajiv Gandhi Assassination- Perarivalan Unaffected By Probe Into 'Larger Conspiracy'; TN Governor Can Take Call On Remission: CBI Tells Supreme Court

Mehal Jain
22 Nov 2020 6:55 AM GMT
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination- Perarivalan Unaffected By Probe Into Larger Conspiracy; TN Governor Can Take Call On Remission: CBI Tells Supreme Court

Rajiv Gandhi and Perarivalan

The CBI has informed the Supreme Court that convict A.G. Perarivalan has nothing to do with the further investigation conducted by its Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) into the "larger conspiracy" behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

The Central probe agency was replying to the intervention application filed by the mother of the petitioner and life convict A. G. Perarivalan for
a direction to release Perarivalan.
The CBI has averred that pursuant to the orders of the Supreme Court, Government of Tamil Nadu forwarded a proposal dated 09-09-2018 recommending to release all the seven convicts in Shri Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, including the petitioner to the Governor of Tamil Nadu for consideration. The same is pending with the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
"That as such the relief prayed for is
an issue between the petitioner and the office of the His Excellency Governor of Tamil Nadu. That it is for the His Excellency Governor of Tamil Nadu to take a call on the issue whether remission is to be granted or not", it is submitted, adding that the CBI has not received any request from the office of the Governor of Tamil Nadu to divulge the details / status of the investigation and the investigation details
cannot be divulged also as, per the orders dated 17-06-1999 of the Designated Court No.1, Chennai, the proceedings are held in-camera.
"In so far as relief is concerned in the present matter the Central Bureau of Investigation has no role", it is advanced.
It is submitted that the role of the petitioner in conspiracy 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. Therefore, the claim of the petitioner that he is innocent and did not have the knowledge about the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi is neither acceptable nor maintainable.
It is narrated that as per the permission
granted by the Designated Court No.1 (under TADA Act l987), Chennai, the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency of Central Bureau of Investigation is conducting further investigation on the mandate given to it. The progress of the further investigation is submitted to the Designated Court No.1 at Chennai.
The further investigation spread over to different countries and the status of the same have already been submitted to
this Court. It is submitted that the present petitioner is not the subject matter of the further investigation carried out by MDMA. The further investigation conducted by MDMA is only limited to the mandate provided to it by Jain Commission Report.
"That vide the intervener application at page 19, the petitioner is trying to convince the court by submitting the affidavit filed by Shri V. Thiagarajan, IPS (Retd), who
recorded the confession statements of the accused persons", it is contended.
It is stated that the affidavit of Shri v. Thiagarajan filed along with this intervener application has already been considered and rejected by this court vide its order dated 14-03-2018, dismissing the application filed by the petitioner praying for recall of the May 11, 1999 judgment of the top court confirming the conviction of all the accused persons except one.

"As such the averment made in the intervener application cannot be taken into consideration in view of the orders of this Hon'ble Court dated 14-03-2018 as mentioned above", it is urged.
The Supreme Court on November 3 orally expressed unhappiness over the fact that the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu state government for the remission of the sentence of A G Perarivalan, the convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, had been pending before the Governor for over two years.

"We do not want to exercise jurisdiction. But we are not happy with how this recommendation has been pending before the Governor for 2 years", observed Justice L Nageswara Rao, the presiding judge of the bench.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Hemant Gupta, was hearing the petition filed by Perarivalan seeking release from the prison based on the recommendation made by the State Government.

Senior Advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan, appearing for the Perarivalan, submitted that though the State Government had recommended the release of Perarivalan after remitting his life sentence, the Governor has not yet acted on it for over two years.

At this juncture, Justice Rao asked if the Court can direct the Governor, a constitutional authority, to make a decision under Article 161 of the Constitution.

The Additional Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, Balaji Srinivasan, informed the bench that the Governor has taken a stand that he cannot take a decision without receiving the report of Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency which is looking into the angle of 'larger conspiracy' behind the case. The CBI has to furnish the report to the Governor on the 'larger conspiracy' angle, the AAG submitted.

The Additional Solicitor General of India, K M Nataraj, told the bench that the investigation on the angle of 'larger conspiracy' was spread over foreign countries such as United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and that the CBI was waiting for replies to the rogatory letters sent to foreign jurisdictions.

At this juncture, Justice Nageswara Rao told that the probe into "larger conspiracy" was related to some other persons who may be involved behind the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and that it was not related to persons who have already been convicted and been spending time in jail for past 28 years.

"Larger conspiracy probe is pending for 20 years. Still, you are at the stage of getting replies of rogatory letters from UK/Bangkok!", Justice Rao remarked.

The bench then proceeded to list the matter for hearing on November 23. Counsels have been given the liberty to file additional documents and inform the Bench about judgments which allow the Supreme Court to give directions to the Governor.

Perarivalan was awarded death penalty in 1991 for conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi after being charged with providing a 9-volt battery for the explosive device to assassination conspirator Sivarasan. In 2014, the Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of Perarivalan and two other convicts who had spent over twenty years in death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to life sentence on the ground of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions.

In September 2018, the Government of Tamil Nadu announced its decision to release him along with six other convicts.

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