Omitted parts of Perarivalan’s confession as it may have freed him from blame: former CBI officer to SC
Twenty-six years after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, a former CBI officer who interrogated one of the convicts, the then 19-year-old A.G. Perarivalan, made a sworn statement before the Supreme Court that the CBI omitted the part of his confession where he said he had “absolutely no idea” of the purpose for which the two nine volt batteries he bought would be used for.
Perarivalan has been in solitary confinement for 23 years for his role in procuring the two batteries which the prosecution said was used in the belt bomb which killed Gandhi in 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
Thiagarajan, in an affidavit dated October 27, 2017, submitted that 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 have been 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 and even till date,” Mr. Thiagarajan stated.
He said the CBI was not sure about the part played by Perarivalan, but his ignorance about the conspiracy was confirmed as the investigation into the assassination progressed. Mr. Thiagarajan refers to a wireless message of May 7, 1991 from mastermind Sivarasan to LTTE top operative Pottu Amman in which the former said “our intention is not known to anybody except we three,” meaning himself, Subha and Dhanu, the suicide bomber.
He said a “mere act” of providing nine volt batteries would not make Perarivalan privy to the conspiracy to kill Gandhi. The wireless message makes it clear that Perarivalan was not taken into confidence.
Mr. Thiagarajan said the Supreme Court “was gracious and highly considerate” to spare the death penalty to Perarivalan in 2014. He said remission for Perarivalan from the rest of the sentence is “long overdue.”
He said he had taken the “considered decision to come forward before the Supreme Court to put the facts pertaining to the confessional statement recorded by me in the proper persective so as to facilitate this court to render justice.”
Perarivalan’s counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan submitted before a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the LTTE’s chief arms procurer of the time is in a Sri Lankan prison. The counsel said probe agencies are still trying to question this man.
“The person who made the bomb is in a prison in Sri Lanka and they (agencies) have till date not questioned this man. The boy who bought two batteries has been languishing in solitary confinement for 26 years. And it is speculative if the batteries were even used in the bomb,” Mr. Sankaranarayanan submitted.
The Bench gave the Centre two weeks to decide whether it agrees with the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to grant Perarivalan remission.
Perarivalan was granted parole in August this year for the first time since his arrest in mid-1991.