Rajiv case: SC wants TN response on mercy plea of convict

New Delhi


The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to inform it within two weeks if a decision has been taken by the Governor under Article 161 on pardon, commutation or remission of the sentence of convicts in 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A bench headed by Justices L. Nageswara Rao pulled up the Centre for failing to make any substantial progress in the probe by the CBI-led Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) to unravel the larger conspiracy behind the killing of the former Prime Minister.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, representing the Centre, contended before the court that things were beyond its control, especially in the absence of response, from various foreign countries, on the Letters Rogatory.

The top court's response came on the plea of 46-year-old A.G Perarivalan, who sought suspension of his life sentence as the MDMA's probe is not completed. Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Perarivalan, said his mercy petition application is pending before the Governor.

The Supreme Court had earlier expressed its discontent on the progress of the CBI probe, underway for the past 22 years, to unearth the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of the former Prime Minister.

The court had observed that the latest report filed by the investigating agency is apparently a mirror image of the report filed two years ago. "What is the progress we want to know", the court told the CBI.

In November 2019, the matter came up for hearing before the apex court, which sought latest status report on the assassination, and gave four weeks to CBI-led Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), probing the matter, to furnish its report.

The MDMA was set up in 1998 on the recommendations of Justice M.C. Jain Commission of Inquiry. This commission was tasked to probe the conspiracy which led to Gandhi's assassination.

The MDMA is headed by a CBI official and comprises officers from Intelligence Bureau, RAW and other agencies.

The top court had told the Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, representing MDMA, to include the updated status of Letters Rogatory (LRs) sent to Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries. "The latest status report has to be filed in four weeks," the bench had said.

The apex court observed the last report on the matter is a year old, and the response on LRs is awaited.

The Centre opposed the submission of Sankaranarayanan. The probe agency had maintained Perarivalan was an active conspirator in the assassination. In March 2018, the apex court had asked the MDMA to file a status report in connection with LR sent to Sri Lanka for examining one of the accused, Nixon alias Suren, lodged in a Colombo jail.IANS