| by L.Annadoure
( February 10, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The death convicts will be heaving a sigh of relief temporarily as their case has been adjourned owing to the pendency of a connected matter before Honourable Supreme Court of India.
Earlier it came to be mentioned that the death convicts have been languishing in jail for about13 years which is incorrect, for they are being incarcerated for about 21 years on end; a mistake has crept into it by oversight and therefore the number 13 may be correctly read as 21.
In view of the discussion already made in respect of the 4 photographs , one may safely arrive at a conclusion that there are no similarities or identical features of the persons who figure in the photographs. Those 4 photographs were not the only ones pertaining to Sivarasan who was said to be the master mind in executing the plan which had been alleged to have been hatched by LTTE.
The Chief Investigation officer had brought in yet another photograph which was found affixed on a driving license said to have been issued to one Sivaraj s/o S.Ramalingan and according to the version of the story propounded by the investigating officer, the said Sivarasan @ Raguvaran @ Packiyachandran had applied for driving license and obtained one. In this regard the attention of the readers are solicited to page No.70 of the Book Rajiv Kolai Vazhakku ( Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case) where a copy of driving license had come be inserted and an enlargement of that photograph is given below.
Although the facial features of the person figuring in this photograph is a bit blurred owing to enlargement yet this person is entirely a different person from the persons found in other 4 photographs. There is no knowing as to how the prosecution had introduced these photographs purporting to the photographs of Sivarasan @ Raguvaran @ Packiyanathan and it should have been thus that the prosecution had made the court to believe that the persons found in all the 4 photographs were one and same person and on the basis of fabricated evidence had facilitated in awarding the capital punishment. Anyone who on seeing the aforesaid photographs would certainly conclude that the persons appearing in them were different individual persons and there needs to possess no esoteric knowledge to come to such a conclusion. Sivarasan@ Raguvaran@ Packiyanathan need necessarily be not Sivaraj son of S.Ramalingam and as for the names themselves , Sivarasan and Sivaraj should be two different entities. These apparent dubitative evidence should have gone in favour of the accused persons in their acquittal. But that these apparent and obvious stark differences had escaped the notice and knowledge of the court is what grieves greatly the right thinking people and for the said reason the judgment of trial court needs to be revised in the interest of justice.
What have been stated in the earlier parts of this piece would settle at rest the proposition of fact that those 10 photographs were the only evidence with which the SIT had made a humble beginning of their investigation and we have also seen as to why those photographs were not credible piece of evidence and in reality those photographs were unreliable for any purpose inclusive of an attempt at proving the involvement of LTTE. The 6 other photographs have to be excluded in totality because the active and practical investigator Mr.K.Ragothaman himself would state that there were only 10 photographs which were the basis for initiation of the investigation and it was these 10 photographs from which prints were taken and then supplied to all other members attached to the investigation team.
The Special Investigation Team has to admit fairly that in the absence of negatives of those 10 photographs fresh negatives could have been created out of the positive prints.
A few more words need to be spoken of the photographer Haribabu. It may be remembered that it was once again the Hindu Newspaper which was alleged to have quoted the story that the father of the alleged photographer had staunchly and in categorical terms denied any involvement of his son in any of the affairs of the LTTE.
According to the decision arrived at by the Chief of the Special Investigation Team Mr.D.R.Karthikeyan , there were no obvious indication in the hut of Haribabu which would show any involvement with any terrorist group and further it was his categorical conclusion that Haribabu’s house had already been cleaned of any evidence that might point to his involvement with LTTE.
The above statement stands in proof of the proposition that there being absolutely no evidence to show that the alleged photographer was one among the conspirators. But imputing and accusing him of conspiracy in assassinating Rajiv Gandhi will not be proper and such an allegation is, as we have seen thus far, should have been unfounded and baseless.
The Chief of the Investigating Team Mr.K.Ragothaman would claim that he had sent his team members to search for and salvage any evidence that might be found in the hut of Haribabu and in compliance of his direction some officers who were assisting him had been to the hut of Haribabu at Saidapet, Chennai, who after a laborious search had informed the chief Investigating officer in the following manner and what had transpired there according to him had been embodied by Mr.K.Ragothaman in his book Rajiv Gandhi Kolai Vazhakku at page No.43 fifth paragraph ,
“ I have called and spoken to the officers who were sent to make a search the house of Haribabu. All of them spoke in unison and in categorical terms. Definitely there was nothing available in that house’.
His subordinates seemed to say the following, ‘Sir. we have ransacked the entire house . If all the things that were available there were to be removed and sold would not fetch even Rs.1,000/-‘
The point that has to noted attentively is that the Chief Investigating officer Mr.K.Ragothamman himself would reveal and admit in categorical terms that he himself had been to the hut of Haribabu at earlier point of time and that nothing had appeared unusual to his eyes in the hut and the following lines is what he had said in page No.43 at the sixth paragraph,“I too had been to the house earlier. To my eyes nothing appeared unusual. Even after searching the nook and cranny of the house there was no material that could point to the involvement. It seemed there was no chance of there being any evidence.”
The unanimous version of both the Chief of Special the Investigation Team and the Chief of the Investigating officer was that there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever in incriminating Haribabu so as to indict him for the offence of conspiracy and collaboration in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and this was the position that existed till to the first week of June 1991.
The Special Investigation Team had not made any break thorough in the investigation of the case from 24.5.1991 till the first week of June 1991 as has been pointed out. There was not a whit of material evidence available except those 10 photographs which had been given by the Hindu News Paper and the said 10 photographs in themselves did not reveal any clue leading to the fixation of identity of the offenders.
It appears from the narration of the story that the Special Investigating Team which since having failed to get material evidence to implicate the LLTE had contrived to project a new twist in the trend of his story. The following passage is the crux of the narration.
‘The Chief Investigation officer was said to have gone to the hut of Haribabu where there were apparent impecunious situation and the mother of Haribabu had come forward to get tea for them from a tea shop and that she had bundle of 100 rupees notes which had made him to suspect the complicity of Haribabu in the assassination but they had declined the offer and that before they did come away from Haribabu’s hut Mr.K.Ragothaman had informed Haribabu’s father saying that if he revealed the names of the persons with whom his son had kept contact then the Government would pay sumptuous award’.
The story flits as a sequential scenes in a novel. Subsequent to the aforesaid alleged incident, Mr.K.Ragothaman had continued to narrate in his book that the father of Haribabu had brought to him a camera stand and handed it over to him by apologizing that he had forgotten to hand it over to Mr.K.Ragothaman at the time of his earlier visit and therefore suspicious stance on the part of father of Haribau had promoted the Chief Investigating officer to direct other officers to make a thorough search in the hut of Haribabu and only then they say they had found letters, receipt and bills and one among the letters was a letter said to have been written by one Sundari who was a resident of Villupuram, to Haribabu and it was said that Sundari was the fiancé of Haribabu.
The allegations like possession of bundle of 100 rupees notes, return of camera stand and recovery of letters and bills seem to be farfetched and imaginary and there was no cohesiveness and consistency in the matters alleged in the book and Such unfounded allegation would not appeal to the mind of any one.
The weighing and considering the truth and veracity of the matters enumerated in the forgoing paragraphs are left to the decision of the readers.
to be continued….