SC to examine if convict facing life can be freed

Elias Hubbard
November 15, 2017

Twenty-six years after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, a former CBI officer who interrogated one of the convicts, the then 19-year-old A.G. Perarivalan, made a sworn statement before the Supreme Court that the CBI omitted the part of his confession where he said he had "absolutely no idea" of the goal for which the two nine-volt batteries he bought would be used for.

Thiagarajan, it claimed, had said in his affidavit that Perarivalan, while making a confessional statement before him, expressly stated that at the time of purchase of the batteries, he had absolutely no idea for what objective these were going to be used.

Perarivalan has been in prison for 26 years for his role in procuring the two batteries which the prosecution said were used in the belt bomb which killed Mr. Gandhi in 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.

In an interview with TOI in 2013, Thiagarajan had said Perarivalan, in his confession before him, admitted that he purchased the batteries.

"We were not sure at that time about the part played by Perarivalan in the conspiracy but as the investigation progressed there was confirmation about the ignorance of the said accused relating to conspiracy".

"Even the knowledge that the battery was used in the bomb explosion was only speculation after the event", read the affidavit. "Probe agencies are still trying to question this man".

On the basis of this revelation, Perarivalam has sought the suspension of his life sentence.

The Top Court fixed the matter for further hearing to December 6. Thiagrajan, who retired as DGP (training), Orissa, said he took a considered decision to come forward to the Supreme Court and put the facts pertaining to Perarivalam's case in proper perspective so as to facilitate the court to render justice.

His death penalty finally commuted to life term imprisonment after Supreme Court verdict on February 18, 2014. He is charged with providing a 9-volt battery for the explosive device to assassination conspirator Sivarasan. "However, even after 18 years of investigation, the CBI could not conclude its investigation with relation to the IED, its origin and make due to one reason or the other".

A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Naveen Sinha issued notice to the Centre and the CBI seeking their response in two weeks to a fresh petition filed by Perarivalan that the CBI omitted that part of his confession that he was not aware of the objective for which he supplied the two nine volt batteries.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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