‘Man con­victed of plot­ting Ra­jiv killing was un­aware of plan’

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - AmitA­nand.Choudhary @times­group.com

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

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