Conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi- Lead investigator speaks
Every high profile murders have several conspiracy theories attached to them. The latest one that is being spoken about is the one relating for former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi and this is due to a just published book called, Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From CBI Files, by, K Ragothaman, who was CBI’s chief investigating officer.
Ragotham writes in his book that there were attempts made to protect the LTTE from being called the conspirators behind the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. In this interview with rediff.com, Ragotham speaks about his book, the conspiracy and also the hurdles that were faced in a probe in which many aspects were hushed up.
How is your book received?
That is too early to tell. It is just out, but it is being debated. Let us wait and watch.
You write that DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s scheduled public meeting in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 the day Rajiv Gandhi was killed was abruptly cancelled.
Yes I do write about it. He was to address a meeting at 6 o clock that evening, two hours before Rajiv Gandhi’s meeting. The police had made all arrangement for that meeting. Suddenly there was a telegram from the Anna Arivalyam postal office jurisdiction that the meeting has been cancelled. I went up and probed the sender of that telegram. I was told to ask Karunanidhi about the same. However I could not investigate him directly. I was told by my superiors that the matter has been looked into and I should remain quiet. I was also told that it was a DGP, Rangaswamy who had advised that the meeting be cancelled. However when I looked at the Rangaswamy affidavit it read that he had ordered as much police force as possible in view of this meeting. I also attended the Jain Commission inquiry in which Karunanidhi was examined during which he had said that it was the then Governor Bhishma Narayan Singh who had told him to cancel the meeting. Look at the contradictions.
Who according to you was the one who advised cancellation of the Karunanidhi meeting?
Probably it was Vaiko who telephoned and sought cancellation of the meeting. The telephone records needed to be examined, but it was never done.
Why do you think Vaiko tried to stop Karunanidhi?
After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi many DMK workers were attacked, their offices burnt. If Karunanidhi had gone there, he would have been in trouble and there would have been an onslaught. Hence they were trying to protect him.
Does this mean even Karunanidhi was part of the plot?
No that is not what I meant. Karunanidhi is basically not a killer. He wanted a democratic solution to the problem and this was never liked by Prabhakaran.
You accuse Vaiko of having a hand in this entire issue.
Vaiko was the one who spoke vehemently against the Indo Jaffna accord. Vaiko said at that time he was first LTTE, then Tamilian and then Indian. At the time of the accord, Prabhakaran was brought down to New Delhi and was kept at the Hotel Ashoka. Vaiko sought to meet him, but he was not allowed. He conversed with him on the intercom during which Prabhakaran told him, “ anna this Rajiv has betrayed me. I feel like committing suicide as he is sealing my fate. But I cannot kill myself as I need to fight for my people.’ Vaiko writes a book later in which he does mention that Prabakaran had thought of committing suicide.
Tell us more sir…
When Vaiko had gone to Sri Lanka, we had secured a video tape titled, Inside a Tiger’s Cave. There he spoke everything that was anti Rajiv Gandhi. It appeared that he was more against Rajiv Gandhi than Prabakaran himself. This was also a point noted during our investigation. Then there is also a meeting in which Vaiko says that Rajiv Gandhi wont go back alive from Tamil Nadu. He however retracted that statement. During the investigation we questioned a man by the name Chinna who is on a death row. He says in one of the hide outs Sivarasan holds talks with a man by the name Srinivas Ayya and says during that meeting that after the successful completion of the mission, we should ensure that Vaiko becomes the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Why was the evidence not used then?
This is a question that I have been asking. We had so much evidence, but surprisingly he was roped in as prosecution witness number 250 in the TADA court. During the trial he denied speaking all of which was on video with Prabhakaran. The video was played out. He said that it was him in the video but the voice was not his. It was sent for examination and the voice too was confirmed, but till date there is no perjury case too against him.
You have alleged that even the IB and the RAW tried to cover up the role of the LTTE?
When the assassination took place, the then Prime Minister, Chandrashekar convened a meeting in which even Subramaniam Swamy was present. The then IB Chief, M K Narayanan and RAW boss, Bajpai were also present. Swamy said that it was obvious that it was the LTTE had done it. Bajpai retorted that it was not the LTTE. The meeting was adjourned. Meanwhile the CBI director had gone to Colombo for the investigation. They were called back and rushed to Delhi for the meeting. During the meeting it was again asked that why a trip was made to Colombo and did that mean it was pre conceived that it was the LTTE which was behind this. Bajpai once again opposed this. He even quoted a person by the name Kittu to be his source. Kittu incidentally is the right hand man of Prabhakaran. An LTTE man can never be RAW mole and even Dr Swamy had termed this as absurd.
What are your allegations against the then IB chief M K Narayanan?
A video taken at the meeting that ill fated day in which there were images of Dhanu was never made available to the CBI team. The assassination team was waiting for nearly two hours in a sterile area. The original video reached Narayanan. The government of India had decided to conduct an investigation in this regard and this case was registered with the SIT, CBI. However it was buried. My question is why no action has been taken for suppressing evidence. It was being said that Dhanu had barged into the meeting, but this video clearly shows that they were waiting for a long time. We probed this case risking our very own lives and it does upset me that people sitting at the helm of affairs are protecting the accused.
Do you think the loop holes will be rectified now?
Let us see.