Omitted crucial details of confession, says CBI officer in SC
NEWDELHI: Twenty-six years after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the CBI’s investigating officer in the case, V Thiagrajan, filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court on Tuesday admitting that he omitted crucial facts while recording the confessional statement of accused AG Perarivalan.
Perarivalan was convicted for being a part of the larger conspiracy to kill Gandhi. Serving life term, he was charged with supplying two nine-volt batteries used to make the bomb that killed Gandhi at a public rally at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991. Perarivalan was sentenced to death by the trial court, which the Supreme Court converted to life.
Perarivalan — who was 19 when sent to jail — has filed a petition before the apex court alleging the lack of an effective probe into the “larger conspiracy” behind the assassination.
Investigating officer Thiagrajan had recorded Perarivalan’s confession under the repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and stated in his affidavit: “Perarivalan expressly stated he was not aware at the time of purchasing the batteries; he had no idea as to what purpose would they be used for.” Thiagrajan was the superintendent of police with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) when the incident took place.
“Even the knowledge that the battery was used in the explosion was only speculation,” read the affidavit. Since the investigation was still in progress, the probe team was not sure about Perarivalan’s particular statement.
Thiagrajan said the reason why he did not record Perarivalan’s claim of being in the dark about the conspiracy was because it was an exculpatory system and the purpose of recording his confession would have been lost. Also, the CBI’s probe into the conspiracy behind the making of the bomb was pending at that point.
Perarivalam’s counsel, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, said it was speculative that the batteries his client purchased were used to make the bomb.
Perarivalam has sought the suspension of his life sentence. A bench of justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Navin Sinha has asked the government and CBI to respond to the plea. The bench also fixed December 6 for the next hearing.
Thiagarajan referred to a wireless message from May 7, 1991, from mastermind Sivarasan to LTTE’s top operative, Pottu Amman, in which the former said the conspiracy behind the killing was known to just three persons, including him. He said the “mere act” of providing nine-volt batteries would not make Perarivalan privy to the conspiracy.
Thiagrajan said he took a considered decision to put forth the facts pertaining to the case in proper perspective so as to facilitate the court to render justice.
Perarivalam wants SC to suspend his sentence until the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) — constituted to unearth the conspiracy behind the assassination — is complete.