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Rajiv Assassination: SC Seeks CBI Response

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The Supreme Court of India (File Photo: IANS)

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R. Banumathi sought the Central Bureau of Investigation’s response on a plea by A.G. Perarivalan — one of the seven convicts undergoing life imprisonment….reports Asian Lite News

The Supreme Court of India. (File Photo: IANS)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the CBI’s response on a plea seeking the recall of its 1999 judgement upholding the conviction of seven accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R. Banumathi sought the Central Bureau of Investigation’s response on a plea by A.G. Perarivalan — one of the seven convicts undergoing life imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy leading to the assassination of the former Prime Minister.

Perarivalan has sought the recall of the 1999 judgement after Superintendent of Police, who investigated the case, said in an affidavit that he had not recorded Perarivalan’s statement that he was not aware the purpose for which the batteries supplied by him would be used.

Perarivalan was accused of supplying batteries that were used in the explisive device that killed Gandhi at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to take a call on the Tamil Nadu government’s 2014 communication proposing to grant remission of sentence to seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination conspiracy case.

“You take a decision. That itself will decide the matter,” said Justice Ranjan Gogoi heading the three-judge bench hearing a 2014 plea by the Centre challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s February 19, 2014 decision to remit the sentences of the seven.

The bench, also comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Navin Sinha, gave the Centre three months’ time to decide on it.

A day after the top court commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment of three key conspirators — V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A.G. Perarivlan alias Arivu and T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan — the Tamil Nadu government (on February 19) sent a proposal to the Centre to release all the convicts including four others.

On February 20, the Centre moved the top court seeking a stay of the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release the seven. It was stayed.

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Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Centre had contended that since Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and the conspiracy dimension was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, it alone had the power to grant remission of sentence.

The entire controversy whether “consultation” with the Centre (by the state government in grant of remission of sentence) meant “concurrence” and other questions were referred to a constitution bench.

Another question that was referred to the five-judge constitution bench included “whether once power of remission under Article 72 or 161 or by this court exercising the Constitutional power under Article 32A is exercised, is there any scope for further consideration for remission by the executive”.

The constitution bench by its December 2, 2015 verdict held that “consultation” with the Centre meant “concurrence” for the grant of remission of sentence of the convicts in the cases investigated by the CBI.

While the constitution bench had decided the question of law, the court on Tuesday noted that the Centre has not yet responded to the February 19 proposal of the Tamil Nadu government and asked it to respond.

Besides Sriharan Perarivlan and Suthendraraja, the other four accused who would have walked free following the Tamil Nadu government’s decision included Nalini, Robert Pius, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, serving life terms.