The court had asked the Centre and the CBI to file a reply to the affidavit filed by the then CBI investigating officer V. Thiagarajan.
New Delhi: In a new twist in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the response of the CBI to a petition filed by Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case seeking recall of the May 1999 verdict, which he alleged was obtained by “fraud” by the investigating agency by suppressing facts.
A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R. Banumathi issued notice to the CBI on the petition after counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan said as the entire basis of the conviction in May 1999 was based on confession made by the accused under TADA, the verdict should be recalled. On Tuesday the court had asked the Centre to reply in three months its stand on Tamil nadu’s proposal to grant remission and release all the seven life convicts in the case.
The court had earlier agreed to examine whether Perarivalan, life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case can be released on the basis of new evidence which has come to light—whether the two batteries supplied by him were the ones used in the “belt bomb.”
The court had asked the Centre and the CBI to file a reply to the affidavit filed by the then CBI investigating officer V. Thiagarajan that the CBI omitted that part of Perarivalan’s confession that he was not aware of the purpose for which he supplied the two nine volt batteries.
Perarivalan quoted an affidavit filed by the CBI investigating officer V. Thiagarajan on October 27, 2017 that “he was totally in the dark as to the purpose for which the batteries were purchased was not recorded by me, because it would have been an exculpatory statement and hence the whole purpose of recording the confessional statement would be lost.”
In its response the CBI said a Letter Rogatory was sent to Sri Lanka on the probe to find out whether the bomb used in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was made in Sri Lanka and so far there has been no response from the Sri Lankan government.
Based on this status report from the CBI Perarivalan moved the present petition contending that the facts as it stands today show that the Petitioner was handed conviction by playing fraud on this court, which means in effect no judgment in the eyes of the law.
He said the only substantial overt act attributed to him was that of supplying two 9-volt Golden Power batteries, which was alleged to be used in the Improvised Explosive Device. relation to the origin and make of the Improvised Explosive device as that would through much light in to the larger conspiracy. The CBI internal evidence shows that even if providing of the 9-volt batteries were true, the knowledge of the conspiracy cannot be attributed to the petitioner.
In that case, he said the very basis of the conviction under conspiracy couldn’t be sustained even without taking in to consideration any other further evidence. It is pertinent to mention that the CBI (MDMA) is yet to conclude its investigation pertaining to the above said origin and make of the Improvised Explosive Device. He pointed out that though this Court held in May 1999 judgment that TADA act was not applicable to the facts of the case the matter was decided by this Court on the basis of alleged confession made before the police. He also quoted the affidavit of the investigating officer V. Thiagarajan that the CBI omitted that part of Perarivalan’s confession that he was not aware of the purpose for which he supplied the two nine volt batteries.
Mr. Thiagarajan referred to a wireless message of May 7, 1991 from mastermind Sivarasan to LTTE top operative ‘Pottu Amman’ in which the former said “our intention is not known to anybody except we three,” meaning himself, Subha and Dhanu, the suicide bomber. He said a “mere act” of providing nine-volt batteries would not make Perarivalan privy to the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi. The wireless message makes it clear that Perarivalan was not taken into confidence.
Mr. Thiagarajan said he had taken the considered decision to come forward before the Supreme Court to put the facts pertaining to the confessional statement recorded by me in the proper perspective so as to facilitate this court to render justice. Hence he prayed for recall of the judgment, which would enable him to prove his innocence. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 21.