‘Man convicted of plotting Rajiv killing was unaware of plan’
New Delhi: Almost 18 years after Perarivalan was convicted as a plotter in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, a former CBI officer involved in the investigation told the Supreme Court that the convict did not know of the plan to kill the former PM.
Former officer V Thiagarajan also said that Perarivalan’s version of not being aware of the plot was not recorded in his confessional statement which was heavily relied upon by the courts to convict him as this would have favoured the defendant and defeated the purpose for which his version was recorded.
Thiagarajan justified his decision saying he had grown concerned at Perarivalan languishing in jail with declining prospects of release and this led to his conscience prompting him to set the record straight.
The 1981 batch IPS officer had recorded confessional statements of Perarivalan alias Arivu in1991in which he was said to have admitted that he had purchased two batteries and handed them to Sivarasan — the leader of the assassination squad — to be used to detonate the bombs to kill the former PM.
Perarivalan also stated he was not aware of the purpose for which the batteries were bought and was in the dark about the assassination plan. Interestingly, Perarivalan has spent his time in jail completing and gaining diplomas and degrees offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Now Thiagarajan has filed an affidavit in the SC and explained the reason for the “omission” of Perarivalan’s particular statement from his confession and virtually supported his plea for remission of the sentence. “It is humbly stated that accused Perarivalan’s statement that he was totally in the dark as to the purpose for which the batteries were purchased was not recorded by me, because it would be an exculpatory statement and hence the whole purpose of recording the confessional statement would be lost. Further, I did not deem it fit to record this exculpatory statement because the investigation regarding the bomb was pending at the time of recording the confessional statement,” he said in his affidavit.
“We were not sure at that time about the part played by Perarivalan in the conspiracy but as the investigation progressed there was confirmation about the ignorance of the said accused relating to conspiracy... Hence a mere fact of providing the nine-volt battery in the first week of May 1991 would not make him privy and party to the said conspiracy. This internal evidence also makes it clear that the accused was not taken into confidence about the assassination. This would clearly show that the fact that Rajiv Gandhi was going to be assassinated was not at all in his knowledge,” he said.
The officer’s statements is contradictory to the SC verdict which in 1998 held “we therefore reach the conclusion that A-18 (Arivu) was actively involved in the criminal conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi”. Perarivalam was about 20 years’ old when he was arrested and has spent 26 years in prison. He was granted parole in August this year for the first time since his arrest in mid-1991.
REVELATION IN APEX COURT