SC agrees to examine if Perarivalan can be released

In the last hearing the court had asked CBI and Centre to file its reply to Thiagarajan's affidavit.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday 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' that killed Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Ms. R. Banumathi 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 the last hearing the court had asked CBI and Centre to file its reply to Thiagarajan's affidavit. On Tuesday the Centre filed an affidavit stating that there could not be an endless probe. It said since the Constitution Bench had rejected the plea and referred to three judges the question of remission granted by the Tamil Nadu government, nothing survived in this case. The Bench told counsel for the Centre that the affidavit did not contain any answer to the specific averment relating to Thiagarajan's affidavit.

The Bench asked counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Prabhu Ramasubramanium to address on the completion of probe by CBI's multi disciplinary agency into the larger conspiracy angle and whether the petitioner was guilty of the offence of conspiracy or not in the light of new evidence. When counsel pleaded for suspension of the life sentence and to grant him bail, the Bench said it would hear the matter finally on January 24, 2018 when it would examine the issue in its entirety.

Justice Gogoi replied, "We have seen reports of the CBI (submitted in a sealed cover) which show not much headway has been made. This seems to be endless. Yours is a case in which conviction has already attained finality and you may seek review."

When Mr. Sankaranarayanan said review petition had been dismissed earlier, Justice Gogoi observed that the "court is still not powerless" and can definitely consider a fresh review in the light of the recent developments.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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