A former CBI officer involved in the investigation in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has purportedly said he had not recorded verbatim the statement of A G Perarivalan, a death convict in the case.
A documentary, produced by a group of individuals and
People's Movement Against Death Penalty (PMADP), quotes former IPS officer S P Thiyagarajan as saying he had not recorded the part where Perarivalan had told him he was not aware why he was asked to purchase the batteries.
Perarivalan alias Arivu was sentenced to death for buying
battery cells to make the belt bomb used to kill the former
Prime Minister during an election rally at Sriperumbudur here in May 1991.
Perarivalan and two other death row convicts in the case,
Murugan and Santhan, have challenged the rejection of their
mercy pleas by then President Pratibha Patil.
"What pricks me is Arivu said he did not know why they
asked him to buy this (battery); he said that. But while
recording that statement I did not record this statement that
he did not know (about the batteries). Investigation was in
progress, so I did not write it. Though strictly speaking, law
expects you to record the statement verbatim. But in practice we don't do that," Thiagarajan, tasked with recording the statement of the accused in the case, said.
The statement was taken "superficially" and they jumped
to a conclusion as if Perarivalan was aware of the plot to
kill Gandhi, he said.
The retired Kerala cadre officer's remarks come 22 years
after the assassination of Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber.
"I always felt a little uneasy in Arivu's case. The
confessional statement has not been appreciated the way it
should have been appreciated," he said.
He added that wireless intercepts between key accused
Sivarasan and LTTE leader 'Pottu' Amman reveal that the former had not disclosed the plot to anyone. Thiyagarajan said he made the latest revelations in "good conscience."
"I thought it was my duty to get in touch with Arivu and
his advocates and bring out the true import of the confessional statement so that if possible, even at this last
minute, we can try and save a precious human life," he said.
Earlier in February, former Supreme Court Judge K T Thomas who had confirmed the death sentence of the accused had said it would be "constitutionally incorrect" to hang them as the convicts have spent 22 years in jail without a "review" of their case.
V R Krishna Iyer, who heads PMADP, appealed in the
documentary against executing anyone in this case,