India | Written by A Vaidyanathan , Edited by Shamik Ghosh | Updated: January 03, 2014 17:28 IST
NEW DELHI: Supreme Court today made it clear that it can't order a re-trial on grounds of new evidence in the cases relating to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and sandalwood smuggler Veerappan's aides, who are on a death row. Chief Justice of India Justice P Sathasivam today said, "Now it has become fancy for an Investigation Officer to make statements after twenty years that he has committed a mistake. We can't reopen the trial.
If we encourage this it will set a bad precedent and all cases will come here" These comments assume significance because the investigation officer in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case had said recently that he had not fully recorded the statement of Perarivalan, one of the convicts facing death sentence. Perarivalan's mother has approached the Madras High court to commute her son's sentence to life based on the new evidence. The Chief Justice's observations came during the hearing of a plea which sought re-trial in a case where four associates of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan were convicted and sentenced to death for killing 21 policemen.
The petitioner's lawyer Colin Gonsalves argued that new evidence has come and there should be re-trial. The Chief Justice said, "In every criminal case there may be slackness. It may be Veerappan or Rajiv Gandhi case. We can't entertain these type of petitions," and dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court had already reserved its verdict on Veerappan's aides to commute death sentence to life because of the delay in deciding on their mercy petitions by the President.
Source: http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/re-trial-cant-be-ordered-due-to-new-evidence-in-rajiv-assassination-or-veerappan-aides-cases-supreme-546692 [last accessed on 04.03.2015]