IB hid crucial video on Rajiv Gandhi murder: Book

Note:The mystery behind the rigorously planned assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the ex-Prime Minister of India that occurred as a result of a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in Tamil Nadu on 21 May 1991 remains unsolvedIt was carried out by Thenmozhi Rajaratnam alias Dhanu alias Gayatri. No Congress leader other than Rajiv was killed or seriously injured in this bombing. V P Singh, the former Prime Minister claimed,  "The most glaring fact is that the most dangerous of the LTTE cadres, Dhanu - the human bomb - was taken by a lady Congress worker to Shri Rajiv Gandhi."
Chandrasekhar government handed the investigation to CBI on May 24, 1991. The agency created a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under D R Karthikeyan to find who killed Rajiv.  The chief investigation officer was Ragothamman. Prior to the assassination, Palestine leader Yasser Arafat and Governor of Tamil Nadu, Bhism Narayan Singh had warned Rajiv about the threat to his life.
This case was probed by two commissions of inquiry. It brought down at least one national government.  Justice J S Verma Commission submitted his final report in June 1992, concluding that the security arrangements for the former PM were adequate but local Congress party leaders disrupted and broke these arrangements.
"Even in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination matter, when I was heading a commission, I refused to permit expansion of the terms, to include conspiracy. And everyone knows Justice Jain took it up and well attended," Justice JS Verma, former Chief Justice of India, who headed the first commission on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination on October 2, 2012 to NDTV.  This Commission was set up on May 27, 1991. Its terms of reference were to find out "(a) whether the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi could have been averted and whether there were lapses or dereliction of duty in this regard on the part of any of the individuals responsible for his security; (b) the deficiencies, if any, in the security system and arrangements as prescribed or operated in practice which might have contributed to the assassination." Besides, the Commission might "recommend the corrective remedies and measures that need to be taken for the future with respect to the matters specified in clause (b)...". The Commission submitted its report in June 1992 under three headings: findings, lapses or dereliction of duty and deficiencies in the security system.
The second Commission was headed by Justice Milap Chand Jain which submitted a 17-volume report on August 28, 1997 to Indrajit Gupta, the then Union Home  Minister which was tabled in Parliament on July 31, 1998. Its terms of reference required it to inquire into (a) "the sequence of events leading to, and all the facts and circumstances relating to, the assassination of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur (other than the matters covered by the terms of reference for the Commission headed by Justice Verma)" and (b) "whether one person or persons or agencies were responsible for conceiving, preparing and planning the assassination and whether there was any conspiracy in this behalf and, if so, all its ramifications."
 V P Singh had termed its interim report as rehash of the Congress (I)'s affidavit before the Commission, and referred to it as a tragedy of "justice retired". 
The probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has come under shadow now that Ragothamman, the chief investigation officer who probed the case claims that a crucial video footage which was mentioned in writing to Chandrashekhar, the then Prime Minister was not shared with Justice Verma Commission and the SIT. It is claimed that the commission's report reproduced a letter written by then IB Chief M K Narayanan on May 22, 1991 to the then Prime Minister that the video of the meeting was being "scanned to try and IDENTIFY THE LADY". The lady referred to in capital letters was Thenmozhi Rajaratnam alias Dhanu alias Gayatri, the assassin. 
It creates a compelling logic for another judicial commission to unearth video and to probe this aspect in order to solve the mystery and conspiracy behind the assassination. Although these agencies are not accountable to the Parliament the upcoming winter session during November 22-December 20, 2012 will surely deal with it as well.    
Gopal Krishna
 

Rajiv Gandhi assassination video suppressed, claims book

 

NEW DELHI: The chief investigating officer of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, K Ragothaman, has alleged that the then IB chief, M K Narayanan, had "suppressed a vital piece of evidence": a video tape showing "human bomb" Dhanu at the Sriperumbudur venue prior to the former prime minister's arrival.
In a book authored by him, Ragothaman said that although a "preliminary enquiry" had been conducted in connection with the missing video, Narayanan, who is now West Bengal governor, had been "allowed to go scot-free" by the chief of the special investigation team (SIT), D R Karthikeyan.
The just-published book, "Conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi - From CBI files", claims that the tape, which had been taken from the videographer by IB the day after Rajiv Gandhi had been blown by Dhanu on May 21, 1991, was never shared with SIT in the investigation of the assassination.
Ragothaman wrote, "The assassin gang as per our investigation was very much in the sterile zone for more than two and half hours waiting for its target." The suppression of the video evidence helped the Tamil Nadu police get away with the claim that Dhanu had sneaked into the sterile zone after Rajiv Gandhi's arrival at the venue around 10 pm.
The tape recovered by the Tamil Nadu police was found to have interpolations in the form of Doordarshan's news bulletins about the assassination. Ragothaman therefore asserted that the tape taken by the IB officials was "the original one and that the video given to the local police was a substituted one".
The alleged manipulation, according to Ragothaman, was meant to erase video evidence of the kind of people Dhanu had interacted with at the venue, thereby sparing embarrassment to the Congress party in the middle of the 1991 Lok Sabha election. He asked: would Narayanan have dared "to damage the goal of the Congress party, irrespective of his personal affiliation to Rajiv Gandhi's family?"
Though he was formally in charge of the investigation and was therefore in the witness box for 67 days, Ragothaman wrote that he had not been taken into confidence by his superior Karthikeyan about the recovery of the tape by IB. He came to know about it later through the report of the Justice J S Verma Commission which had probed the security lapses leading to the assassination.
Besides recording "this unusual feature" of the SIT-produced tape containing news bulletins along with visuals of the venue, the commission's report reproduced a letter written by Narayanan on May 22, 1991 to the then Prime Minister, Chandrashekhar, stating that the video of the meeting was being "scanned to try and IDENTIFY THE LADY". The lady referred to in capital letters by Narayanan was of course the assassin.
In a sequel to the commission's report, the Narasimha Rao government directed SIT to hold the preliminary enquiry, case no. 1 of 1995, against Narayanan along with the then cabinet secretary and home secretary, according to the book. The case was later "buried at the behest of the chief of SIT" despite the admission made by Narayanan in his May 22 letter.
While the public got to see only the two still pictures of Dhanu taken by an LTTE-hired photographer who had died in the blast, Ragothaman's book raises questions about the whereabouts of the video in which Narayanan admitted to have seen the assassin. Why did the SIT chief not collect the video seen by the IB chief? Or, why did the IB chief not share the tape in which Dhanu was visible with him? Had there been such questions about anybody else, the book says "he would have been booked under Section 201 IPC for concealing the evidence and screening the offender".
Chennai/New Delhi: A former CBI officer, who probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has claimed that a video purportedly showing the assassin Dhanu at the public meeting at Sriperumbudur on the fateful day had been suppressed by then IB chief M K Narayanan, now West Bengal Governor.
A letter written in this regard by Narayanan to then Prime Minister Chandrashekar makes a reference to the video but it was never brought to the notice of the Special Investigating Team, its then Chief Investigating Officer K Ragothaman has said in his latest book "Conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi - From CBI files".
"The SIT came to know of the video following a mention by the Justice Verma Commission (constituted to probe the assassination) as it was never brought to SIT's notice," he said.
Narayanan was not available for comments. Raj Bhawan officials in Kolkata said he is on a visit to Australia.
The video was shot by a local videographer hired by the organisers of that fateful public meeting, he said.
The letter by Narayanan, published as Annexure in the book says, "Barricading in the site of the meeting (to be addressed by Gandhi) was rudimentary. Neither double nor effecting barricade was evident. It was hence possible for those in the unsterilized areas to have access to the sterilized zone.
It has not yet been possible whether the lady (assassin Dhanu) made her way into the sterilised zone once Rajiv Gandhi approached or whether she had previously managed to stand in line as one of those offering salutations to Rajiv Gandhi.
Video pictures of this part of the meeting are presently being scanned to try and identify the lady," the letter by Narayanan said as mentioned in Raghothaman's book.
"It is a suicidal note from him. Had he not written it we would not have come to know (about the video)," Raghothaman said.
Ragothaman alleged that the issue was not pursued by then then chief of the Special Investigation Team D R Karthikeyan and Narayanan was allowed to "go scot-free".
Asked about Ragothaman's charge against him, Karthikeyan said he has to read the book before deciding whether it deserves his comment.
"It's 22 years back when the event took place and lakhs of pages have been written in newspapers, magazines in India and all over the world," he said.
"Two Commissions have inquired. And, the years of trial and the trial court and the maater has been also dealt with by the Supreme Court and the final verdict has been given," he told Times Now.
Karthikeyan said he "cannot recollect" when asked about the video. "I must read the news item and also see the book and see in what context what is written and if it is worth reacting, I will do so," he said.
The state police had claimed then that Dhanu had suddenly made her way near Rajiv Gandhi before detonating the bomb and that she was not at all present in the sterile zone prior to that, Raghothaman said.
Holding that many versions had floated around the mastermind behind the incident, Raghothaman said he decided to document the meticulous investigation that led the SIT to LTTE chief V Prabhakaran and many other members of the outlawed group for the crime.
He said he penned the book in Tamil in 2009 only because the "accused had been killed," in armed conflict with Sri Lankan forces.
The English version again details the incidents that led to the murder of Gandhi and how CBI zeroed in on Prabhakaran with vital clues.
(Agencies) 
West Bengal Governor and former Intelligence Bureau director MK Narayanan should be a worried man right now. Narayanan, whose stint as the governor of Bengal had his public persona cut out as that of a sociable, impeccably groomed diplomat, has been running into some rough weather of late.
At first, he was criticised for being driven around in a brand new BMW en route to a Gandhi Jayanti function. Now, former chief investigator of the CBI, K Ragothaman has claimed in his book that Narayanan might have ‘tampered with valuable evidence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case’.
Rajiv Gandhi and MK Narayanan. Agencies
In a report published in DNA, Ragothaman talks about his new book Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From the CBI Files and tells the reporter that while the CBI had started a preliminary inquiry in which Narayanan was named a suspect in hiding evidence, the case was buried by the then CBI chief.
The video, which was reportedly shot just a few hours before Gandhi was killed at Sriperumbudur in 1991, was never shared by then IB chief Narayanan with the CBI to expedite the probe. Reportedly, Narayanan also wrote a ‘secret letter’ to then PM Chandrashekhar apprising him of the existence of the video.
The book also points a finger at the possible role of MDMK leader Vaiko, then a DMK top gun. Ragothaman mentions how earlier in the day Gandhi was assassinated, several DMK meetings were ‘abruptly cancelled’ and DMK supporters, uncharacteristically, stayed away from all public meetings.
Read the entire DNA story below
Was a video — shot hours before former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 — that held crucial clues to the assassination never shared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB)?
A new book — Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From the CBI files — by the former chief investigator of the CBI, K Ragothaman, claims that the then IB director and current West Bengal governor MK Narayanan never shared this video with them.
We filed a preliminary enquiry “naming MK Narayanan as a suspect for tampering with valuable evidence but the case was eventually buried by our chief,” Ragothaman told DNA.
He refers to a secret letter that Narayanan wrote to the then Prime Minister Chandrashekhar the day after the assassination. “Video pictures of this part of the (Sriperumbudur) meeting are presently being scanned to try and identify the lady,” Narayanan wrote in the letter.
Ragothaman discovered a copy of this letter in the report of the Justice Verma Commission’s records. When Justice Verma asked SIT chief Karthikeyan to establish whether this video was tampered or not, he promised a forensic report. “But this report was never submitted by the CBI to the commission... Is it not obvious that M K Narayanan had suppressed evidence?” Ragothaman asks.
He further alleges that the then RAW chief, GS Bajpai, was working to ensure that the LTTE was not blamed for the assassination, saying that the CBI director and SIT chief were recalled from Colombo, where they had gone for investigations, on Bajpai’s “insistence”.
Ragothaman also raises several questions over the role of MDMK leader Vaiko, then with the DMK. He claims Vaiko’s role needed further investigation. Ragothaman claims DMK cadres stayed away from public meetings on the evening of May 21. A scheduled meeting of DMK leader M Karunanidhi “was abruptly cancelled” the same evening.
When he made inquiries as to who may have tipped Karunanidhi off, he was told that it was the TN director general of police. Ragothaman says he “collected evidence about the cancellation of the meeting” but this line of investigation was shut down by his seniors. He feels if this line been explored further, it would have revealed more details of the plot to kill Rajiv Gandhi.
 CBI denies suppression of evidence by IB chief in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
India TV reporter/PTI
Chennai/New Delhi, Oct 30: The Central Bureau of Investigation today denied a media report quoting a former CBI officer has having said that a video showing Rajiv Gandhi's LTTE assassin Dhanu at the ill-fated Sriperumbudur meeting had been suppressed on orders from the then Intelligence Bureau chief M K  Narayanan, now governor of West Bengal.

A CBI spokesman said in Delhi: "Regarding certain allegations in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case : CBI did a meticulous investigation which was praised by the Supreme Court, hence, the question of alleged suppression of evidence does not arise ."

The former CBI officer K Raghothaman, who probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has claimed that a video showing the assassin Dhanu at the public meeting at Sriperumbudur on the fateful day had been suppressed by then IB chief M K Narayanan.

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.

IB hid crucial video on Rajiv Gandhi murder: Book
New Delhi: Was a video — shot hours before former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 — that held crucial clues to the assassination never shared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB)?

A new book — Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From the CBI files — by the former chief investigator of the CBI, K Ragothaman, claims that the then IB director and current West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan never shared this video with them.

We filed a preliminary enquiry “naming MK Narayanan as a suspect for tampering with valuable evidence but the case was eventually buried by our chief,” Ragothaman told DNA.
He refers to a secret letter that Narayanan wrote to the then Prime Minister Chandrashekhar the day after the assassination. “Video pictures of this part of the (Sriperumbudur) meeting are presently being scanned to try and identify the lady,” Narayanan wrote in the letter.

Ragothaman discovered a copy of this letter in the report of the Justice Verma Commission’s records. When Justice Verma asked SIT chief Karthikeyan to establish whether this video was tampered or not, he promised a forensic report. “But this report was never submitted by the CBI to the commission... Is it not obvious that M K Narayanan had suppressed evidence?” Ragothaman asks.

He further alleges that the then RAW chief, GS Bajpai, was working to ensure that the LTTE was not blamed for the assassination, saying that the CBI director and SIT chief were recalled from Colombo, where they had gone for investigations, on Bajpai’s “insistence”.

Ragothaman also raises several questions over the role of MDMK leader Vaiko, then with the DMK. He claims Vaiko’s role needed further investigation. Ragothaman claims DMK cadres stayed away from public meetings on the evening of May 21. A scheduled meeting of DMK leader M Karunanidhi “was abruptly cancelled” the same evening.

When he made inquiries as to who may have tipped Karunanidhi off, he was told that it was the TN director general of police. Ragothaman says he “collected evidence about the cancellation of the meeting” but this line of investigation was shut down by his seniors. He feels if this line been explored further, it would have revealed more details of the plot to kill Rajiv Gandhi. 


The leader of Sri Lanka's defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, who is wanted by India over the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, will not face criminal charges, Sri Lankan authorities said on Wednesday.
Selvarasah Pathmanathan will be allowed to continue his work running a non-governmental development organisation in the north of Sri Lanka, they said, despite being on Interpol's wanted list.
"There is no case against him," military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasuriya told reporters in Colombo.
Lakshman Hulugalle, head of the defence ministry's media centre, said: "It's a victory for us, because a Tamil leader who fought against the government is now working for the country's development. He has got the freedom to do that."
When asked if Pathmanathan was in detention any longer, he added: "Practically, there is no detention now."
However, the media centre later said Pathmanathan had not been released, but was under special protection.
Neither official gave any details on why Sri Lanka was apparently ignoring Interpol's arrest warrant, which was instigated by India.
The warrant required him to be extradited over allegations he helped plan Gandhi's killing by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber in southern India in May 1991.
The Indian embassy was not immediately available for comment.
Pathmanathan - also known as KP - succeeded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam founder Vellupillai Prabhakaran, who was killed by Sri Lankan troops in the final battle of the three-decade war in May 2009. He was arrested in August 2009.
He had dodged authorities for nearly three decades and built the rebel group's smuggling, weapons procurement and fundraising into a multi-million dollar enterprise known as the "KP Department".
He operated a fleet of freighters for smuggling and dealt in arms bazaars from Eritrea and Afghanistan to Ukraine.

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