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16 yrs on, panel still probing Rajiv Gandhi killing

Monday, 24 February 2014 - 9:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Monitoring agency has spent over Rs 100 cr, CBI officials clueless why it still exists

After being in existence for 16 years, over two dozen foreign trips and spending over Rs 100 crore for "investigations", the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), set up to crack the larger conspiracy leading to the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, is still on the job.

Formed in December 1998, the MDMA consists of about 40 officials, including a deputy inspector general and two superintendents of police, and led by a joint director.

The MDMA continues to occupy the 10th floor office in the swanky CBI headquarters at the CGO Complex.

Even very senior CBI officials do not know what the MDMA has done and its current status.

Even Karthikeyan, who headed the Special Investigation Team of the CBI and proved LTTE's direct hand in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination does not know why the MDMA is still there when the CBI has done its job.

Another senior official, who was part of the MDMA, said there is nothing left for the agency now, with the Sri Lankan authorities catching Kumaran Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP in 2009.
Investigators had claimed only three people knew about the whole conspiracy. Of this, two -- LTTE chief V Prabhakaran and head of its intelligence wing Pottu Amman -- were killed during the 2008-09 operation by the Sri Lankan Army.

While being in hot pursuit of KP, the main financier of the LTTE, the MDMA spent a fortune and travelled to South East Asian countries, Europe and even to New Zealand.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, CBI and home ministry officials said the MDMA could get only six useless replies for over two dozen Letters Rogatory (LRs) it sent to different countries to find out the links between Godman Chandraswamy and KP.

The MDMA was keen to know the bank details of KP and some more people, including Chandraswamy, who is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi.

The only clue about MDMA's status comes from a CBI reply filed against an affidavit of death row convict A G Perarivalan at a TADA court in Chennai in October last year. In the letter, the CBI claimed the MDMA is still investigating the conspiracy angle.

Perarivalan, whose death sentence was recently commuted to life by the Supreme Court, had approached the special court to monitor the investigation conducted by MDMA.

But many CBI and home ministry officials contacted by dna do not see merit in this CBI reply.

When dna tried to find out MDMA's status from a top CBI official, not only did he fail to answer at what stage the investigations are but had to sift through his diary to name the official who heads it.

"Joint director Nina Singh heads MDMA," he said, requesting not to quiz any further to let the MDMA remain intact.

"If I tell you everything, the media will start questioning the reason of its existence. But we need it, we use it for several other jobs that cannot be spelt out," the official said.

But the fact is the MDMA has little to offer now and has ceased to be an investigation hub with other agencies like RAW, IB, ED and DRI pulling out its investigators from it.

"It is there for the namesake of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and emotional reasons of some people. Otherwise, it has no utility," a senior official, formerly part of the MDMA said.

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