There have been unanswered questions about the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur.
There were questions as why Rajiv Gandhi was allowed to go to Sriperumbudur,despite information that he would be assassinated there.
A Congress leader suspiciously canceled his visit at the last-minute.
Sivarasan, the killer was liquidated after the arrival of a Senior officer at the spot.
The contingent was asked to wait for his arrival, till this officer, though they would have caught the killer alive.
Now Ragothaman exposed that a crucial Video evidence was suppressed.
Read the following and the related posts.
A new book — Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From the CBI files — by the former chief investigator of the CBI, K Ragothaman, claims that the then IB director and current West Bengal governor MK Narayanan never shared this video with them.
We filed a preliminary enquiry “naming MK Narayanan as a suspect for tampering with valuable evidence but the case was eventually buried by our chief,” Ragothaman told DNA.
He refers to a secret letter that Narayanan wrote to the then Prime Minister Chandrashekhar the day after the assassination. “Video pictures of this part of the (Sriperumbudur) meeting are presently being scanned to try and identify the lady,” Narayanan wrote in the letter.
Ragothaman discovered a copy of this letter in the report of the Justice Verma Commission’s records. When Justice Verma asked SIT chief Karthikeyan to establish whether this video was tampered or not, he promised a forensic report. “But this report was never submitted by the CBI to the commission… Is it not obvious that M K Narayanan had suppressed evidence?” Ragothaman asks.
He further alleges that the then RAW chief, GS Bajpai, was working to ensure that the LTTE was not blamed for the assassination, saying that the CBI director and SIT chief were recalled from Colombo, where they had gone for investigations, on Bajpai’s “insistence”.
Ragothaman also raises several questions over the role of MDMK leader Vaiko, then with the DMK. He claims Vaiko’s role needed further investigation. Ragothaman claims DMK cadres stayed away from public meetings on the evening of May 21. A scheduled meeting of DMK leader M Karunanidhi “was abruptly cancelled” the same evening.
When he made inquiries as to who may have tipped Karunanidhi off, he was told that it was the TN director general of police. Ragothaman says he “collected evidence about the cancellation of the meeting” but this line of investigation was shut down by his seniors. He feels if this line been explored further, it would have revealed more details of the plot to kill Rajiv Gandhi.
Realising that Rajiv as prime minister would be a near-impossible target, it was decided that they should strike while his security status was still that of an opposition leader and election campaigning would render him even more vulnerable. In end-November, the elusive LTTE supremo Prabhakaran, having decided on the physical elimination of Rajiv Gandhi, summoned four trusted lieutenants – Baby Subramaniyam, Murugan, Muthuraja and Shivarasan – to finalise the contours of an assassination plot. Subramaniyam and Muthuraja were summoned from Madras where they were staying at that time.
In the first week of December, Prabhakaran made his decision known to the four members of the team he had summoned. The actual details of the operation were left to them but each was assigned a specific task. Baby Subramaniyam, a prominent idealogue of the LTTE, was operating from Madras running a printing press publishing LTTE literature. His task was to prepare a back-up team that would arrange shelter for the assassins before and after the killing.
Muthuraja was asked to prepare a base in Madras to ensure proper communication facilities, couriers for messages and the smooth distribution of money for the assassins. Murugan, a key instructor and an explosive expert of the LTTE, was asked to take over the assignments from Subramaniyam and Muthuraja after their departure for Jaffna. Shivarasan, the much wanted man today, who has been labeled ‘one-eyed-jack’ was given the most important task – the actual assassination.
The assassination plot received further impetus with the dismissal of the DMK government led by M. Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi’s government was dismissed on grounds of having encouraged the LTTE movement in the state – not entirely baseless as Karunanidhi on his campaign trail, before the assassination, portrayed the fellow Tamils’ cause in Sri Lanka as just and noble.
Imposition of central rule in Tamil Nadu was a major setback for the LTTE. The decision to dissolve the DMK government – though essentially political and under tremendous pressure from the Congress (I) and the AIADMK – was taken following a series of reports filed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) revealing the growing informal relationship between the followers of the DMK and the LTTE.
But even though the IB had established Karunanidhi’s sympathy towards the LTTE and its links with the DMK, it was utterly in the dark regarding the extremist group’s plan to liquidate Rajiv Gandhi. The external intelligence organization, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was equally clueless about the existence of the plot.
Meanwhile, by the begining of 1991, the four lieutenants of Prabhakaran had already set the plan in motion. Baby Subramaniyam and Muthuraja were back in Madras. Both were engaged in the crucial first stage of the plot – identifying and recruiting local people who would eventually harbour the assassination squad. A key recruiting centre was a photo agency which had developed into an LTTE hub in Madras. Shubha News and Photo Agency was run by Shubha Sundaram who is considered to be a godfather for most of the budding photographers in Madras. Shubha’s agency was visited by many Dravida Kazhagam (DK) members also. The DK, which is an extremist sibling of the DMK, has been openly sympathetic towards the LTTE.
Muthuraja and Baby Subramaniyam picked their first target – Bhagynathan – a young DK activist from Shubha’s place. Bhagynathan had expressed ambitions of bringing out a political journal but lacked the financial resources. His family was heavily steeped in debt and had meagre means of support. He himself managed to earn a living by supplying stationery items to a firm where his sister, Nalini, was employed as a secretary. His mother, a nurse, was working in Kalyani Nursing Home.
The crunch came when his mother was asked to vacate the quarter provided by the nursing home authorities. The family was desperate, lack of money meant they could not afford to rent a place to live in Madras. The first recruit for the assassination plot had fallen into the LTTE’s lap. Baby Subramaniyam casually mentioned to Bhagynathan that he was looking for a customer for his printing press as he was thinking of switching to another business. Bhagynathan offered to take over the press provided the price was paid in instalments. Seeing Bhagynathan falling into the trap, Baby readily agreed. He sold the press to Bhagynathan at a ridiculously low price of Rs. 5000, payable in small instalments. Baby now had also gained access to Bhagynathan’s entire family which had shifted to the area where the press was located. The press premises, in any event, offered the perfect cover for a suitable hide-out. The second stage of the operation – recruiting the entire family – had begun. Baby’s strategy of convincing Nalini to help her brother run the press was starting to pay off. Nalini was exposed to the LTTE literature which was then being churned out and conveyed one key message: Rajiv Gandhi was solely responsible for the
‘crimes’ perpetrated by the IPKF in Sri Lanka.
Nalini was easy to recruit. She was soon working on a book titled Satanic Forces and sub-titled Heinous Crimes of the Indian Peace Keeping Force. The book carried no comment from the LTTE except one innocuous message from Prabhakaran: “Work is worship”. The book itself was merely a compilation of sundry news reports, photographs, cartoons and editorials published in the Indian media about the negative aspects of the IPKF in Sri Lanka and the mishandling of the situation by Rajiv Gandhi’s government.
Meanwhile, second member of the recruiting team, Muthuraja, had been equally busy in Shubha Sundaram’s agency. Shubha had already received a message from Prabhakaran to co-operate with Muthuraja in a secret operation of the LTTE for which recruitment of some unknown faces was necessary. Two young photographers, Ravi Shankaran and Haribabu, fitted the requirements. Even though Shubha had fired Haribabu for being inattentive, he was deeply indebted to the LTTE for the financial support they had given him for photographic assignments. Haribabu had joined a new agency, Vigneshwar Video, but was well aware that the money paid to him was much more than the normal assignment fee.
This was when Muthuraja informed Haribabu that someone who needed to be trained in photography was arriving from Jaffna and would stay with Haribabu as a paying guest. The new entrant in Haribabu’s life, Balan, did much more than allow Haribabu to earn some extra money. He gradually brain-washed the young photographer into believing that Rajiv Gandhi was solely responsible for the brutality inflicted on the Sri Lankan Tamils and that his return to power would mean yet another bout of atrocities.
Back in Jaffna, Murugan was preparing to make his entry onto the stage that had been set by his two accomplices in Madras. The plot was proceeding satisfactorily and according to schedule. After a series of of meetings with Shivarasan in Jaffna, Murugan decided to send two young LTTE boys from Shivarasan’s village, Jayakumaran and robert Pias, to Madras. They arrived in early February. Initially they stayed at Jayakumaran’s brother-in-law Arivu Perulibalan’s house at Savri Nagar Extention in Porur, a suburb of Madras. Arivu, a diploma holder in computer science, had been living in Madras since early 1990. Although a dedicated member of the LTTE, he had played no active role in its subterranean activities till he was approached by Murugan. Arivu’s electronic expertise was to be of deadly significance.
Murugan entered the scene in mid-February when he arrived in Madras. His first move was to shift Pias and Jayakumaran to new accomodation with the help of Arivu who had been told about the ‘special mission’ without disclosing the target. Murugan’s primary task was to give logistical support apart from providing sufficient financial support to all three. By shifting Pias and Jayakumaran to a new residence, he had also provided another hide-out for the team. Pias and Arivu were told to organise a fake licence for a two-wheeler.
In end-February, Muthuraja introduced Murugan to to Bhagynathan’s family. By then Nalini had developed a deep sense of hatred for Rajiv Gandhi at a time when his return to power was becoming imminent. Murugan thus had no problem in finalising the third hide-out. With three safe shelters, an electronic expert in Arivu who had been asked to improvise a bomb out of grenades that could be detonated by a suicide bomber, three converts in Nalini, Padma and Bhagynathan, and a recruiter in Shubha Sundaram, the plot was in place. Murugan sent a message to Shivarasan in Jaffna asking him to come to Madras. Shivarasan arrived in the first week of March. He first stayed at Pias’ house in Porur where he was given a detailed briefing on the shelters and the people who had been recruited by Muthuraja and Baby Subramaniyam.
Shivarasan’s arrival in Madras completed the elaborate web spun by Prabhakaran in the jungles of Jaffna for the execution of Rajiv Gandhi. From now on, the key role in the plot would be played by Shivarasan. Everything was working to plan. Shivarasan, himself an expert on explosives, examined Arivu’s design for a human bomb and pronounced it suitable. He asked Baby Subramaniyam and Muthuraja to leave for Sri Lanka as it would not be safe for them to live in India any longer. By the end of March, Muthuraja and Baby Subramaniyam left for Jaffna.
Shivarasan moved to the Bhagynathan household where he discussed the plan with Murugan, Nalini and Bhagynathan. He told them that he had somebody in mind who would act as the human-bomb. He also asked Bhagynathan to look for a photographer who could be trusted. However, the target was still kept secret. Ravi Shankaran and Haribabu, old-time friends, were then brought into the picture. Sensing that they were being involved in a specific operation of the LTTE, both realised that they had reached a point of no-return.