Chennai: 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, saying "whenever there is a suspicion, please don`t execute."