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, 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.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

12 thoughts on “Conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi- Lead investigator speaks”

  1. This article was written in 2012 and I just read it. About Ragothaman’s interview, we have only his words about the role of Vaiko in this conspiracy. The entire proceedings of the court is still under cover. And you have to take into account of other enquiry officer Mr. Thyagarajan’s (of CBI) revelations about the way the confessions were got from the accused, particularly Perarivalan who was condemned to hang for his crime of buying two batteries for the bomb.

    Just imagine this – you buy batteries from a petty shop and the shop owner gives you a bill? The CBI submitted a bill from the petty shop owner that Perarivalan bought those batteries. This is how the case was built against the accused. Also in the early stages of the investigation, one Kodiakkarai Shanmugam was apprehended by the CBI and interrogated. During the course of interrogation he committed suicide by hanging himself from a mango tree in the interrogation office premises in kodiakkarai. What can you say about that?

    Even though the Jain Commission asked for Chandraswamy to be interrogated, it was not done so. Why?

    Tiruchi Veluswamy, a congress man now and a trusted aide of Subramanian Swamy at the time of assassination gave deposition in the Jain Commission against Subramanian Swamy, it was not investigated. Subramanian Swamy has called Veluswamy at 10 PM on 21.05.1991 and asked him about any incident happened. This is what Veluswamy deposed before the commission. Remember the time of assassination and the time Swamy called.

    In 1991, we didnt had mobile phones and all. Yet the assassins knew of Rajiv’s delayed flight. How? Without inside information?

    What about the three foreign lady journalists who accompanied Rajiv Gandhi in his election campaigns in Orissa and Andhra saying that they are researching the indian election campaign and yet they didnt take pictures or video of anything. They accompanied Rajiv to chennai and were in his motorcade till Porur on the way to Sriperumpudhur. They got down in Porur and were not seen or heard of anymore. Who are they?

    There are many unsolved angles and puzzles in Rajiv’s assassination. The CBI just hushed up the investigation and pointed at LTTE and helped others to escape.

    And Ragothaman here is trying to sling mud on Vaiko with nary an evidence to show. The DMK meeting and Congress meeting are in the same place on the same day. Both are opposing Parties and both meetings to be addressed by high profile leaders. The DMK government in Tamil Nadu was dismissed by Chandrasekhar on the behest of Rajiv. Its obvious that this could lead to clashes between the party cadre. So the Governor could have informed DMK thro the police DGP his request to cancel their meeting, as Rajiv is a national leader and a prime minister candidate.

    A simple issue of cancelling a meeting cannot be construed as evidence for complicity in the murder. And Ragothaman has to answer several uncomfortable questions about the unsolved issues in the conspiracy.

    The entire conspiracy behind Rajiv’s murder should be uncovered, yet I firmly believe it wont happen since its buried deep.

  2. Your simple interview has succeeded in getting the truth out from the investigator’s mouth. The lead investigator has thus conveyed his mind and has pointed his finger against the most suspected and talked person. Good reporting, once again. Hats off!!!!

      1. Yeah true.. at that I realized the fear of being a known entity… especially in India.. if you don’t like the person just bomb them or shoot them… I was so terrified…

  3. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was a tragic event, but even more tragic is the fact that the complete conspiracy behind his killing is yet to be unraveled and some critical pieces of leads continue to remain unexplored in spite of their relevance to the case.

    It is important to place these facts before the nation at a time when demands are being made to commute the death sentence of the three persons convicted in the case, Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan.

    Many may be unaware of these facts and it is our duty to refresh the memory of the nation, especially the media, on the dozens of unanswered questions relating to the Rajiv assassination case that beg for an answer.

    The Special Investigation Team (SIT) which investigated the case conveniently swept these uncomfortable questions under the carpet so that it could proceed with its preconceived line of investigation confining the investigation to those who believed in the Tamil or Dravidian cause.

    Before we go into these questions, it is relevant to point out that the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), which had been established to probe the ‘larger conspiracy’ in the assassination, is yet to file its report

    Let’s now look at those ‘unanswered questions’. You could study them closely and decide whether these questions merit a reinvestigation into the case.

    1. Rajiv began his election campaign from Delhi and reached Chennai through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Yet the question remains as to why Rajiv would agree to attend the Sriperumbudur meeting which was not in the agenda of Tamil Nadu Congress Party?

    2. While other senior leaders in the state Congress like Vazhapadi Ramamurthy and G K Moopanaar showed no interest in bringing Rajiv for propaganda in Sriperumbudur, what made Mrs.Maragadham Chandrasekar to travel to Delhi to invite him? Did she fall prey to a larger conspiracy, unknowingly?

    3. Rajiv’s security officer O P Sagar was with him during his campaigning in Bhubaneswar (Orissa) and Vishakapattinam (Andhra Pradesh). Why didn’t he accompany him to Chennai?

    ?4. In Vizag, Rajiv had to turn back to his Circuit House due to a technical snag in his flight. Rajiv returned to the flight after receiving the news through the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Vijaya Baskara Reddy that the problem had been fixed. Rajiv took the flight without Sagar. So what circumstances led an experienced officer like Sagar to miss the flight?

    5. Rajiv reached Chennai without his security officer. P C Gupta, the officer who took charge of his security in Chennai, could not receive the pistol from Sagar as the latter did not arrive in the flight. As a result, Gupta traveled along with Rajiv without the pistol.

    6. The strangest part though is the manner in which some Congress leaders and their family members cleared all the security hurdles and led the assassins and their aides gain such close proximity with Rajiv. (In fact, Dhanu was only at arm’s reach when the bomb exploded).

    ?7. Congress leader Maragadham Chandrasekar was at Sriperumbudur. Her daughter Latha Priyakumar was also present at the venue with her husband Magendiran. Her son Lalith Chandrasekar had brought his wife Vinothini to the meeting. Given the fact that Vinothini is the daughter of a Sinhalese, why was she never interrogated? Isn’t it true that Rajiv had become unpopular among many Sinhalese for sending the IPKF?

    ?8. A senior Congress leader, Vazhappadi Ramamurthy, who accompanied Rajiv to the stage in two other street-corner meetings just preceding the Sriperumbudur meeting, kept a safe distance from Rajiv in this meeting alone. Why was that so?

    9. Many innocent civilians and security personnel died alongside Rajiv, but it is too strange to observe that not even a single Congress worker died or even had a minor injury in this incident. Doesn’t it arouse suspicion?

    The above were Unanswered questions in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case’

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