The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the countrys premier investigating agency, which has been investigating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in association with internal and external agencies for 22 years, but the larger conspiracy, why he was killed, is yet to be unraveled.
The matter came up for hearing before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, which sought latest status report on the assassination probe, and gave four weeks to the CBI-led multi disciplinary monitoring agency (MDMA) to furnish its report.
The court was hearing a plea of A.G. Perarivalan, who sought deferral of his life sentence in the case citing the incomplete MDMA probe. Perarivalan and three others were initially awarded death sentence, which was commuted to life-term.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 during a poll rally at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Perarivalan, said the letters rogatory (LRs) were yet to receive a conclusive response, since 1998.
Sankarnarayanan submitted the man who built the bomb was lodged in a Sri Lankan jail for close to decades, and the agencies claimed the investigation was still on, as the Sri Lankan government had not responded to their queries.
"The details of how the bomb was put together and how it was transported to the crime scene have not been uncovered in 28 years, and the person who built the bomb is yet to be probed," said Sankarnarayanan, who told the court his client's role was limited to procuring nine-volt batteries, allegedly used in the improvised explosive device (IED), which killed Gandhi.
The MDMA was set up in 1998 on the recommendations of Justice M.C. Jain Commission of Inquiry. The commission was tasked to probe the conspiracy that led to Gandhi's assassination.
The MDMA, headed by a CBI official, comprises officers from Intelligence Bureau, RAW and other agencies.
The Bench, comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta, told Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand, representing MDMA, to include the updated status of LRs sent to Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries. "Latest status report to be filed in four weeks," the Bench said.
The apex court observed the last report on the matter was a year old, and the response on LRs was awaited. The Centre opposed the submission of Sankaranarayanan and contended his client role was not limited to procurement of batteries. 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 Colombo jail.