Tamil Nadu

I expected the verdict and respect the same, says former CBI director Kaarthikeyan who probed Rajiv Gandhi assassination  

Former CBI Director D.R. Kaarthikeyan. File photo.

Former CBI Director D.R. Kaarthikeyan. File photo. | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

The Supreme Court verdict releasing A.G. Perarivalan, one of the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, is on expected lines, former Director Central Bureau of Investigation D.R. Kaarthikeyan said.

“I respect this verdict and it is on expected lines. We have to respect the Supreme Court judgment,” Mr Kaarthikeyan, who led the Special Investigation Team that probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, told  The Hindu on Wednesday.

 However, Mr. Karthikeyan sought to dismiss claims that the convicts in the case were innocent. “We did an in-depth investigation leaving no stone unturned. The team toiled for several months collecting crucial evidence from all possible sources and finally managed to go from the crime to the criminal. Three eminent Supreme Court judges upheld the verdict after hearing the matter over three long months — perhaps the longest ever appeal heard in the apex court. It is not that any of them were innocent,” he said.

“This was not just another murder. It was not just the family of Rajiv Gandhi and others who died in the blast, who were aggrieved. It was a crime against the country. The whole nation was aggrieved. In all, 18 people, including 9 policemen, were killed. The SP of the district Iqbal was killed on his birthday. What did Rajiv Gandhi do to any of them (the convicts)…he only did his duty as the Prime Minister in the larger interest of the people, according to the advice he received and acting on his own judgement,” he said. 

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, conspired in Jaffna, was meant to be a mystery forever. Nobody knew how and where the killing of the former Prime Minister was plotted. “When the CBI Director called for a meeting no officer was willing to take up the case. I was in Hyderabad when I was requested to investigate this case. I thought it was my duty to the nation and so agreed to take up the challenging assignment which, at that time, was considered totally impossible. It was expected to remain a mystery forever like the Kennedy Assassination case.”

Mr. Kaarthikeyan said he and his team took up the investigation with an open mind. Every piece of oral, scientific evidence and human intelligence was put together to build the case from the crime to the criminal. “Our investigation was independent and we did not allow any party or person to interfere.”

On whether life sentence should mean imprisonment till death, Mr. Karthikeyan said punishment had to be a deterrent to prevent grave crimes. With increasing number of terror acts, people expected stringent punishment to the wrongdoers. “It is up to Parliament to decide on whether the country is ready to abolish death penalty. As regards life sentences, prisons are reformation centres where there is scope for a convict to realise the mistake made and become a better person. Where the crime is premeditated against the nation and assumes the character of mindless killing of top leaders or innocent public, the only alternative to capital punishment should be employed — life sentence till the end of life,” he said.


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 2:20:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/i-expected-the-verdictand-respect-the-same-says-former-cbi-director-kaarthikeyanwho-probed-rajiv-gandhi-assassination/article65425718.ece