SC dismisses plea by Rajiv Gandhi case convict

SC dismisses plea by Rajiv Gandhi case convict

SC dismisses plea by Rajiv Gandhi case convict

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by a Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict that he was wrongly held guilty for conspiracy as his role was confined to merely supplying batteries that were used for a human bomb to kill the former prime minister on May 21, 1991.

The top court found no substance in his plea to interfere with the May 11, 1999, verdict by which 45-year-old A G Perarivalan and others were initially awarded a death sentence, which was later commuted to life term.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and M M Shantanagoudar, however, kept the main petition of Perarivalan pending in which he has sought suspension of his life sentence in the case till the completion of the probe by the CBI-led Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) into the larger conspiracy behind the assassination.

The bench asked the MDMA to file a status report in four weeks with regard to the status of a Letter Rogatory sent to Sri Lanka for examining one of the accused Nixon alias Suren, who is lodged in Colombo jail.

The CBI counsel Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand opposed his plea saying he had visited Jaffna in the first week of June 1990, besides attending a public meeting  "as a dry run" along with other conspirators.

The meeting was addressed by former prime minister V P Singh on May 7, 1991 in Tamil Nadu.

Advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan, appearing for Perarivalan, said he was just 19-year-old when the incident had taken place and had no knowledge of what he was doing and for what purpose batteries were purchased.

He relied upon an affidavit of an officer who claimed exculpatory part of statements of the accused were not considered.