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.