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Monday, November 05, 2012 - 06.04 GMT

Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Former CBI officer questions Karunanidhi's role


A new book on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has alleged that no probe was conducted into the "abrupt cancellation" of DMK chief M Karunanidhi's scheduled public meeting in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 - the day when Rajiv was killed.

In the book, Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From CBI Files, the author, K Ragothaman, who was CBI's chief investigating officer in the case, says: "It was the talk of the town that all DMK men should not stir out on the late evening of that fateful day. This aspect was not inquired into at all. If any investigation would have been done, the person who had contacted the DMK leader and advised him not to go to the Sriperumbudur meeting... would have been unearthed."

Ragothaman further claims that when he wanted to question Karunanidhi, then SIT chief D R Karthikeyan asked him not to "create such issues", adding that "no worthwhile" investigation was carried out to probe the involvement of politicians "at the behest of the SIT chief".

"When I collected the evidence about the cancellation of the meeting and brought it to the notice of the chief of SIT to question the DMK leader... I was told that part of investigation was done by him and that DGP Rangaswamy had requested the DMK leader to cancel the meeting... I was chided by the SIT chief not to create such issues... I kept quiet and later went through the affidavit of DGP B P Rangaswamy before the Justice Verma Commission. I found that there was no such statement," he writes.

"To my surprise, when I was present at a hearing held by the Justice Jain commission of inquiry at Delhi, I heard the DMK leader deposing that he had to cancel the meeting at the request of the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Bhishma Narayan Singh," he says, adding that Rangaswamy had stated in his affidavit that he had taken "all steps to provide arrangements for both the leaders at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991."

Rubbishing the allegations, Karthikeyan told The Indian Express: "This is utter nonsense... to gain cheap publicity. All the evidence collected during the investigation was produced before the courts, which scrutinised it threadbare, praised and endorsed the investigation. It was also rated as a 'model' probe by Interpol. After 22 years, somebody is trying to sensationalise it."

But Ragothaman countered that Karunanidhi's public meeting had been planned in advance and advertisements were issued in local newspapers. "The meeting was abruptly cancelled on May 21, at around 11:30 am, when the DMK headquarters issued a telegram to its local office stating that it had been postponed. I traced the telegram and apprised the SIT chief about it but he didn't permit me to investigate," he told The Indian Express.

The book also questions the role of former IB chief M K Narayanan, who is now the West Bengal Governor, alleging that a video taken at Rajiv's Sriperumbudur meeting, which reportedly had pictures of the assassin (Dhanu), was not made available to the CBI team. It claims that the "assassin gang" was waiting in the "sterile" area for over two-and-a-half hours.

"The original video reached the IB chief M K Narayanan and that is why he referred to it in the note sent by him to the then PM... On the action taken report, the Government of India decided to conduct an investigation against M K Narayanan and others. Strangely, this case was registered in SIT CBI and later buried at the behest of the chief of SIT. Is it not obvious that M K Narayanan had suppressed vital piece of evidence found on record and was allowed to go scot free by the chief of SIT D R Karthikeyan?" says the book.

Ragothaman further alleges that the then RAW chief G S Bajpai tried to ensure that the LTTE was not blamed for the assassination. "On the early morning of May 22, Prime Minister Chandrasekhar convened a meeting of CCPA, in which RAW chief G S Bajpai and IB director M K Narayanan were also present... It is reported that Subramaniam Swamy had said that it could be LTTE... the chief of RAW vehemently pleaded that it was not LTTE."

According to the book, Bajpai told Chandrasekhar that "Kittu of LTTE was their mole". "Kittu could never be a mole as he was the right-hand man of Prabhakaran. I only admire how Kittu was clever enough to keep the RAW chief as his mole," it says.

Meanwhile, CBI officials claimed today that they had conducted a meticulous probe into the case and the question of alleged supression of evidence does not arise.

Courtesy : The Indian Express






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Last modified: November 05, 2012.

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