The Supreme Court reprimanded the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) today for failing to make substantial progress in probing the larger conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The top court noted that the past two reports were exactly the same and also directed the Tamil Nadu government to report back in two weeks if the Governor had taken any decision on the pardoning of convicts and the remission of their sentences.
The top court also hauled up the MDMA (multi-disciplinary monitoring agency), saying it did not "want to do anything". The MDMA is probing cross-border aspects of the killing of the former Prime Minster.
"No progress has been made in probe in to larger conspiracy. The MDMA have done nothing... nor do they want to do anything... the past two reports are exactly the same," a two-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageshwar Rao said today.
The Supreme Court's sharp observations were an echo of those made last week, when Justice Rao said: "We want to know the progress made in these two years".
Set up in 1998 on recommendation of Justice MC Jain Commission, the MDMA probes cross-border and conspiracy angles to Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. It is headed by a CBI official and includes officers from IB, RAW and Revenue Intelligence and other agencies.
The top court was hearing a plea by AG Perarivalan, 46, a convict who has sought suspension of his life sentence till the MDMA completes its probe.
According to news agency PTI, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for Perarivalan, said that although the state had taken a decision on his mercy plea it was pending before the Governor
The court had earlier dismissed a plea by him seeking recall of the May 1999 verdict upholding his conviction. In its observation the court said the material brought on record did not inspire confidence to interfere with the original verdict.
However, in February 2014, the court commuted Perarivalan's death sentence to life imprisonment on grounds of a 11-year delay in deciding on his mercy plea.
The court later also commuted the sentences of six others, including Nalini Sriharan, whose sentence was commuted after an appeal by Rajiv Gandhi's widow, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, on death row.
All seven have been in jail for close to 28 years. The Tamil Nadu cabinet has recommended their release, but the Governor has yet to decide on the matter.
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, at an election rally. Fourteen others, including Dhanu herself, were also killed.
With input from PTI