The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central government if it was willing to free AG Perarivalan, the convict who has spent 26 years in jail for his role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The court gave the Centre two weeks to respond.

On Tuesday, Perarivalan’s lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan told the court his client was jailed for supplying two nine-volt batteries that were used in the bomb that killed Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 in Tamil Nadu. But, the Central Bureau of Investigation did not record Perarivalan’s statement about whether he knew what the batteries were for, NDTV reported. The lawyer quoted an affidavit filed by V Thiagarajan, a senior CBI officer who had interrogated Perarivalan who was then 19-years-old.

In a sworn statement to the court on October 27, 2017, Thiagarajan said the CBI omitted the part of Perarivalan’s confession where he said he had “absolutely no idea” what the two batteries will be used for. Thiagarajan said he did not record that bit “because it would have been an exculpatory statement and hence the whole purpose of recording the confessional statement would be lost”, The Hindu reported.

He said the CBI became aware of Perarivalan’s ignorance about the conspiracy as the investigation into the assassination progressed. Thiagarajan said freeing Perarivalan was “long overdue”.

Of the 26 years that Perarivalan has spent in jail, he has been in solitary confinement for 23 years. The case will be heard next on December 6.