Man jailed in Rajiv killing as I hid facts, says ex-CBI officer
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 has told the Supreme Court that the convict did not know of the plan to kill the former PM.
V Thiagarajan also said Perarivalan’s statement about not being aware of the plot was not recorded in his confession,which was heavily relied upon by courts to convict him, as this would have favoured the defendant.
Now, Thiagarajan has filed an affidavit in the SC and explained the reason for the “omission”, and virtually supported Perarivalan’s 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.
In an interview with TOIin 2013, Thiagarajan had said Perarivalan, in his confession before him, admitted that he purchased the batteries. “But he said he did not know the batteries he bought would be used to make the bomb. As an investigator, it put me in a dilemma. It wouldn’t have qualified as a confession statement without his admission of being part of the conspiracy. There I omitted apart of his statement and added my interpretation. I regret it,” he said, adding that if he had a chance, he would have corrected the mistake.
Thiagarajan justified his decision to file the affidavit, saying he had grown con- cerned at Perarivalan languishing in jail with declining prospects of release.
The 1981-batch IPS officer had recorded the confessional statements of Perarivalan alias Arivu in 1991, wherein 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. .
“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 1991would 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,” Thiagarajan said.
The officer’s statements is contradictory to the SC verdict, which had, 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 when arrested in mid-1991. He was initially awarded the death penalty, but it was commuted to life imprisonment.
His lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan told a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha that his client was languishing in solitary confinement for just procuring the batteries and the CBI had not been able to interrogate the real culprit who had made the bomb. The court asked the Centre to respond to the statements made by the former officer and the petitioner. Mumbai: If Maharashtra’s proposed labour reforms on factory closures and sackings go through, all the 37,234 factories in the state would have the option of shutting shop and firing workers without seeking the government’s permission.
Currently, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, allows this liberty only to factories with fewer than 100 workers.
The Maharashtra labour department has proposed that the exemption be extended to factories with fewer than 300 workers, a rule already in place in some states, including Rajasthan and Haryana. However, the proposal further suggests that factories with 300 or more workers be allowed this option as well if they give 60 days’ notice and 60 days’ compensation to workers for each year of continuous service.
Around 45% of Maharashtra’s factory workers — the largest chunk — are employed in factories with 300 or more workers. The state has 1,365 such factories employing 11.4 lakh of its 25.2 lakh factory workers.
“This proposal will promote ease of business. It will also be beneficial to workers because they currently rece- ive 15 days’ compensation for every year of continuous service if there is a closure. The proposal increases their compensation,” said state labour secretary Rajesh Kumar. The state’s proposals are patterned on the Centre’s model law.
The proposals say units with fewer than 300 workers will need to pay 45 days’ com-
Though the labour reforms are still in the proposal stage, unions have sounded alarm, saying they would undermine workers rights