The former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi was killed by human suicide bomb blast on 21.05.1991 at Sriperumpudur. Though this is the 26th death anniversary of him there are many knots of doubts untangled with regard to his assassination. Dhanu, an LTTE cadre, killed him by covertly wearing the human bomb in her body and blown herself in his close vicinity. In this gory incident, many who stood close by him, a few congress members, security guards and public were killed along with him. The CBI took up the case for further investigation. The court pronounced punishment to those who were found to have involved in the assassination case along with Murugan, Nalini and Perarivalan. The verdict is complete up to the point that the LTTE was the agency that killed Rajiv Gandhi. But till now there is no answer for the key question that who was behind the LTTE assigning to kill him. A multipurpose enquiry team was formed to investigate if there was an international foul play with regard to his assassination. But ever after twenty five years the investigation was yet to be conducted. Recently there was a debate in regard to the investigation. The enquiry team members made dubious excuses stating that in spite of their submission of queries long ago, they were yet to receive any inputs from the countries they intended to investigate. We met Rahothaman, former SP of CBI and chief investigation authority of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to have an elaboration about the case.
Did you arrest the entire team of people who were involved in Rajiv Gandhi assassination?
There are many riddles that I could not decipher. Where the bomb that Dhanu had used was actually made? Who was the source of supply of the RDX for that bomb? We could not get any clue on that. Next, the conspirators who were behind the bomb blast, Sivanesan, Subha and Nalini travelled towards Chennai by an auto-rickshaw. There was a man with beard whose identity we could not get so far. We do not know who that was.
Do they doubt that there could be somebody else besides the LTTE, in the conspiracy?
In 1991, Yasser Arafat, the leader of Palestine Liberation Movement, informed that he received confidential information that Rajiv Gandhi would be assassinated at the time of election in India. Who failed to take proactive action based on the inputs from the international intelligence? Those who were closely involved with the LTTE at that period, Anton Balasingam, Kittu, KP alias K Padmanaban, knew more details about his assassination. Anton Balasingam is no more. On 16th January 1993, the Indian Coastal Guards cordoned off the ship that sailed through the transnational waters. One of the key functionaries of the LTTE, Kittu was traveling in the ship and allegedly it was told that as soon as he realized that he would be caught by the guards he killed himself by setting fire to the ship. There seems to be a conspiracy in that incident. Many facts about the assassination could have been revealed had we caught him alive. Similarly, KP alias K Padmanaban was an international agent for LTTE in supplying weapons, bombs and other artilleries. He hasn’t so far been enquired by any of our investigation teams. Even now he lives in Srilanka. We will be able to get much information from him if he is enquired about the assassination. Why these efforts have not been taken for the past twenty years? This is simply puzzling to me.
Do you think this is a political compulsion?
To my knowledge, the video cassette that recorded the assassination at Sriperumpudur was hid in secret by the erstwhile Director of Indian Intelligence, M.K. Narayanan. It is not my statement but is mentioned in the Varma Commission report. It is another puzzle for me why it was not handed over to the CBI. We could have gained more evidence had the cassette was handed over to us. Similarly, the very next day of the assassination, the Director of RAW announced that there was no connection between Rajiv Gandhi assassination and the LTTE, during the Cabinet meeting in New Delhi. What made him say so? That is one of the puzzles we could not sort out so far. Therefore, to me, I accuse the intelligence agencies of India that they facilitated conducive environment for Rajiv Gandhi to be killed. I can mention one more aspect. When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he was provided with SPG security. When he left the position as the PM the security was recalled. Only Delhi police force security was given to him, just for the name sake. But considering the political and terrorist threats he was facing at that time it was decided to give him the NSG, one of the highest security forces. But do you know when it was signed? It was just a day before he was assassinated. It was on 20.05.1991 that the decision to provide him the NSG force was Okayed. Had it been given to him in March, at the beginning of the election propaganda, Rajiv Gandhi assassination surely could have been prevented.
There is no answer for who was responsible for that delay in signing it? When Sivarasan and Subha were cordoned off by the CBI in Bangalore, why they were not captured immediately? Why there was a delay of one and half a day?
The delay happened because of travelling of the NSG from Jammu-Kashmir to Bangalore. It was a deliberate delay. Had we followed a different strategy, in lightening time we could have captured them alive. To me, when we entered in to the room where Sivarasan lived, I was shocked to see many film roles burnt. Besides, Sivarasan exercised caution to burn the diaries and other important documents before being killed. Had we retrieved those documents we could have discovered the entire dimension of the incident. It is one more puzzle why the NSG was delayed to arrive at the scene.
(This article written by R Balakrishanan in Tamil has been reproduced in English by Amalan Stanley)