The Supreme Court said on Tuesday said that it would hear the plea filed by Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, on January 24. It also asked the Union Government to clarify its stand on his plea.
On November 14, the top court had asked the Centre to respond to a plea filed by Perarivalan, seeking the suspension of his sentence until the CBI concluded its probe into the conspiracy behind the making of the explosives that killed Gandhi.
Perarivalanâ€™s death sentence was earlier commuted to a life term by the Supreme Court.
The top court also declared that the Central Bureau of Investigation-led investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of Gandhi has not seen â€śmuch progressâ€ť. The Supreme Court referred to the reports filed before it by the CBI and observed that the investigation by the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) could be â€śendlessâ€ť.
â€śThe MDMA is investigating the larger conspiracy. From CBI reports, it doesnâ€™t seem that there is much headway. So this enquiry could be endless,â€ť a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi said.
In his plea, Perarivalan told the court that he had purchased two nine-volt batteries allegedly used in the explosive that killed the former Prime Minister. But the probe into the improvised explosive device is still underway â€“ almost two decades after it was initiated.
Earlier this year, a former Central Bureau of Investigation officer V Thiagarajan told the Supreme Court that Perarivalan was not aware of the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi. The affidavit filed by Thiagarajan says: "It is humbly stated that accused Perarivalan's statement 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 be an exculpatory statement and, hence, the whole purpose of recording the confessional statement would be lost. Further, I did not deem it fit to record this exculpatory statement because the investigation regarding the bomb was pending at the time of recording the confessional statement."
Justice (retd.) KT Thomas had also written a letter to Sonia Gandhi asking her to â€śshow magnanimity to the convictsâ€ť in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Thomas, who headed the three-member bench that confirmed the convictsâ€™ punishment, also said the CBIâ€™s investigations had â€śserious flawsâ€ť.
Recently, Perarivalan, who has been in solitary confinement for 23 years now, was granted a two-month parole