India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the country’s top investigative agency the CBI, for failing to make substantial progress in investigating the conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The court was hearing a plea filed by A.G Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the case, who sought the suspension of his life sentence until the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) completes its probe, the two-judge bench headed by Justice L. Nageshwar Rao stated “it did not want to do anything” after noticing that the last two reports submitted by the CBI led MDMA (multi-disciplinary monitoring agency) were the same.
The MDMA has been probing the cross-border aspects of the killing of the former Prime Minister since 1998.
“The agency has not made any progress in the probe into the larger conspiracy yet… the last two reports have been exactly the same… the MDMA has done nothing, nor do they want to do anything… We want to know the developments made in the last two years,” Justice Rao said.
Replying to the court, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand said that the state government had not received a response to the letters the investigation sent to Sri Lanka and other countries.
The letters rogatory is a document requesting to seek information or evidence from a specific person through a foreign court within that court’s jurisdiction.
The apex court on Tuesday also asked the Tamil Nadu Government about its decision on Perarivalan’s mercy petition in the case, under Article 161 of the Constitution, which they must file in a detailed status report within two weeks.
The Article gives a Governor the power to pardon a person proven guilty in court.
Meanwhile, the advocate appearing for Perarivalan said that the state government had taken a decision, but the application is pending with the state Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had dismissed the plea, seeking a recall of the 11 May 1999 verdict upholding his conviction, as it was on record that the Perarivalan had supplied the nine-volt batteries used in the bomb.
In 2014, the court had converted his death sentence to life imprisonment on the grounds of an 11-year delay in deciding on his mercy plea. Perarivalan, along with six others convicted in the case, has been in jail for almost 28 years now.
Rajiv Gandhi served as prime minister between 1984-89 and was assassinated in 1991 as an ex-prime minister.