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SPECIAL INVESTIGATION

RAJIV ASSASSINATION

The Inside Story


The LTTE team which carried out the meticulously planned killing was put
together by Pirabhakaran in October 1990 in the forests of Jaffna.

By ANIRUDHYA MITRA in Madras


hatched in October 1990 deep in the chances of Congress(I) president Rajiv
jungles of Jaffna. The motive is now Gandhi returning to power were now

O
NE month after the brutal assas- understood to have been related to the almost certain. For the extremist orga-
sination of former prime minister political tremors then emanating from nisation struggling for Tamil Eelam, this
Rajiv Gandhi, the crack special New Delhi. The then prime minister V.P. meant a possible re-induction of the IPKF
investigation team (SIT) has managed to Singh was battling for survival follow- in Sri Lanka and a certain crackdown on
edge considerably closer to unravelling ing a threat by the BJP to withdraw the elaborate LTTE network established
the complex plot behind the shocking support to his minority National Front in Tamil Nadu.
crime that stunned the nation. government. Across the Palk Straits, in Even before the National Front gov-
The exhaustive investigation pro- the forest hide-outs of Jaffna in north- ernment finally collapsed, the LTTE had
cess and interrogation of key suspects eastern Sri Lanka, the LTTE leadership made up its mind to prevent Rajiv
picked up so far have established that the met for a crucial assessment of the Gandhi from regaining power even if it
plot to kill Rajiv Gandhi was first situation. The meeting decided that the required the ultimate deterrenthis

THE CONSPIRATORS PIRABHAKARAN


LTTE supremo.

0A0Y oUBnAMANf*AM 'W$ ttfl 1 SHIVARASAN


LTTEidealogue Trusted LTTE lieutenant 1 Key LTTE instructor andjj (One-eyed Jack)
HHSHArrange shelters f<>F EEEfl Prepare ^e in explosive expert. LTTEintelligence squad
the assassins. M|dras for communications E^TQ give logistical CHSlWas given the
EHSEBNow back in $ artti finances, . support toihe assassins! most important task - that
Jaffna. Wanted. E5E3 Reported killed last fc Arrested. of the assassination.
week in an encounter with Most wanted.
th Sri Lankan

BHAGYANATH& RAVI SHAN KAR ARIVU SHUBHA


Recruited by DK activist. Photographer & LTTE activist & LTTE 'Shadow' LTTE'Shadow'
Baby EHH Sheltered LJTEsupporter. explosives expert stMd member. squad member.
CHS Sheltered the assassins, CH3 Filmed EfflEBMadethe ijl The human liBEB Standby
the assassins. the dry runs. bomb that killed for Dhanu.
ES3S1 Arrested. BS2ES Under RaiyGandhi. harboured H assassination.
ation. interrogation. BnrTEgArrested. Shivarasan. 'KB IfiS Killed in
i Died in fcM&HArresteHpthe blast,

22 INDIA TODAY JULY 15. 1991


assassination. By early Rajiv Gandhi. The exter-
November 1990, the V.P nal intelligence organisa-
Singh government was tion, Research and Analy-
voted out and Rajiv Gan- sis Wing (RAW), was
dhi was virtually back in equally clueless about the
power, shooting from be- existence of the plot.
hind Chandra Shekhar's Meanwhile, by the be-
shoulder. The possibility ginning of 1991, the four
of a mid-term poll loomed lieutenants of Pirabha-
ever larger. The LITE was karan had already set the
getting desperate. plan in motion. Baby
Realising that Rajiv as Subramaniyam and
prime minister would be a Muthuraja were back in
near-impossible target, it Madras. Both were en-
was decided that they gaged in the crucial first
should strike while his se- stage of the plotidenti-
curity status was still that fying and recruiting local
of an opposition leader people who would even-
and election campaigning tually harbour the assas-
would render him even sination squad.
more vulnerable. In end- A key recruiting cen-
November, the elusive tre was a photo agency
LITE supremo Pirabha- which had developed into
karan, having decided on an LTTE hub in Madras.
the physical elimination GRENADES, Shubha News and Photo
CONTAINING
of Rajiv Gandhi, sum- Agency was run by
C4-RDX
moned four trusted lieu- EXPLOSIVE TOGGLE
Shubha Sundaram who is
tenantsBaby Subra- SWITCHES considered to be a godfa-
maniyam, Murugan, ther for most of the bud-
Muthuraja and Shiva- ding photographers in
rasanto finalise the Madras. Shubha's agency
contours of an assassina- 9 VOLT was visited by many
tion plot. Subramaniyam BATTERY Dravida Kazhagam (DK)
and Muthuraj a were sum- members also. The DK.
moned from Madras which is an extremist sib-
where they were staying ling of the DMK, has been
at the time. openly sympathetic to-
In the first week of The denim jacket put together from pieces at the blast-site wards the LTTE.
December, Pirabhakaran Muthuraja and Baby
made his decision known to the four ther impetus with the dismissal of the Subramaniyam picked their first tar-
members of the team he had summoned. DMK government led by M. Karunanidhi getBhagynathana young DK activ-
The actual details of the operation were in Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi's govern- ist from Shubha's place. Bhagynathan
left to them but each was assigned a ment was dismissed on grounds of had expressed ambitions of bringing out
specific task. having encouraged the LTTE movement a political journal but lacked the finan-
> Baby Subramaniyam, a prominent in the statenot entirely baseless cial resources. Bhagynathan's family
ideologue of the LITE, was operating as Karunanidhi on his campaign trail, was heavily steeped in debt and had
from Madras running a printing press before the assassination, portrayed the meagre means of support. He himself
publishing LITE literature. His task was fellow Tamils' cause in Sri Lanka as managed to earn a living by supplying
to prepare a back-up team that would just and noble. stationery items to a firm where his
arrange shelter for the assassins before sister, Nalini, was employed as a secre-
and after the killing.

I
MPOSITION of Central rule in Tamil tary. His mother, a nurse, was working
> Muthuraja was asked to prepare a Nadu was a major setback for the in Kalyani Nursing Home.
base in Madras to ensure proper com- LTTE. The decision to dissolve the DMK The crunch came when his mother
munication facilities, couriers for mes- governmentthough essentially politi- was asked to vacate the quarter pro-
sages and the smooth distribution of cal and under tremendous pressure vided by the nursing home authorities.
money for the assassins. from the Congress(I) and the AIADMK The family was desperate, lack of money
> Murugan, a key instructor and an was taken following a series of reports meant they could not afford to rent a
explosive expert of the LTTE, was asked to filed by the' Intelligence Bureau (IB) place to live in Madras. The first recruit
take over the assignments from Subra- revealing the -growing informal rela- for the assassination plot had fallen into
maniyam and Muthuraja after their tionship between the followers of the the LTTE'S lap. Baby Subramaniyam
departure for Jaffna. DMK and the LTTE. casually mentioned to Bhagynathan
^ Shivarasan, the much wanted man But even though the IB had estab- that he was looking for a customer
today, who has been labeled "one-eyed- lished Karunanidhi's sympathy to- for his printing press as he was think-
Jack" was given the most important wards the LTTE and its links with the ing of switching to another business.
taskthe actual assassination. DMK, it was utterly in the dark regarding Bhagynathan offered to take over the
The assassination plot received fur- the extremist group's plan to liquidate press provided the price was paid in

* I N D I A TODAY 23
SPECIAL INVESTIGATION

instalments. Seeing Bhagynathan fall- fired Haribabu for being inattentive, he


ing into the trap, Baby readily agreed. He was deeply indebted to the LTTE for the
sold the press to Bhagynathan at a financial support they had given him for
ridiculously low price of Rs 5,000, pay- photographic assignments. Haribabu
able in small instalments. had joined a new agency, Vigneshwar
Baby now had also gained access to Video, but was well aware that the
Bhagynathan's entire family which had money being paid to him was much
shifted to the area where the press was more than the normal assignment fee.
located. He advised Nalini to help This was when Muthuraja informed
Bhagynathan in his new venture after Haribabu that someone who needed to
her normal office hours. The press be trained in photography was arriving
premises, in any event, offered the per- from Jaffna and would stay with
fect cover for a suitable hide-out. The Haribabu as a paying guest. The new
second stage of the operationrecruit- entrant in Haribabu's life, Balan, did
ing the entire familyhad begun. much more than allow Haribabu to earn
Baby's strategy of convincing Nalini to some extra money. He gradually brain-
help Bhagynathan run the press was washed the young photographer into
starting to pay off. Nalini was exposed to believing that Rajiv Gandhi was solely
the LTTE literature which was then being responsible for the brutality inflicted on
churned out and conveyed one key the Sri Lankan Tamils and that his
message: Rajiv Gandhi was solely re- return to power would mean yet an-
sponsible for the "crimes" perpetrated other bout of atrocities.
by the IPKF in Sri Lanka.

B
Nalini was easy to recruit. She was ACK in Jaffna, Murugan was pre-
soon working on a book titled Satanic paring to make his entry onto the
Forces and sub-titled Heinous Crimes of stage that had been set by his two
the Indian Peace Keeping Force. The accomplices in Madras. The plot was
book carried no comment from the LTTE proceeding satisfactorily and according
except one innocuous message from to schedule. After a series of meetings
Pirabhakaran: "Work is worship." The with Shivarasan in Jaffna, Murugan
book itself was merely a compilation of decided to send two young LTTE boys
sundry news reports, photographs, car- from Shivarasan's village, Jaykumaran
toons and editorials published in the and Robert Pias, to Madras. They ar-
Indian media about the negative aspects rived in early February. Initially they
of the IPKF in Sri Lanka and the mishan- stayed at Jaykumaran's brother-in-law
dling of the situation by Rajiv Gandhi's Arivu Perulibalan's house at Savri
government. Nagar Extension in Porur, a suburb of
Meanwhile, the second member of Madras. Arivu, a diploma holder in
the recruiting team, Muthuraja, had computer science, had been living in Haribabu's camera (circled)
been equally busy in Shubha Sunda- Madras since early 1990. Although a
ram's agency. Shubha had already re- dedicated member of the LTTE, he had Jaykumaran to new accommodation
ceived a message from Pirabhakaran to played no active role in its subterranean with the help of Arivu who had been told
cooperate with Muthuraja in a secret activities till he was approached by about the "special mission" without
operation of the LTTE for which recruit- Murugan. Arivu's electronic expertise disclosing the target. Murugan's pri-
ment of some unknown faces was neces- was to be of deadly significance. mary task was to give logistical support
sary. Two young photographers, Ravi Murugan entered the scene in mid- apart from providing sufficient financial
Shankaran and Haribabu, fitted the February when he arrived in Madras. support to all three. By shifting Pias and
requirements. Even though Shubha had His first move was to shift Pias and Jaykumaran to a new residence, he had

JANUARY 1991
Baby Subramaniyam traps
Bhagynathan'sfamiiy by selling them his printing press.
The household becomes a shelter for the assassins.

In Jaffna, LTTE supremo Pirabhakaran summons four


trusted lieutenants and informs them that Rajiv Gandhi's
return as PM is inevitable and so he must be eliminated.

24 I N D I A TODAY * JULY 15, 1991


nathan, and a recruiter in Shubha
Sundaram, the plot was in place.
Murugan sent a message to Shivarasan
in Jaffna asking him to come to Madras.
Shivarasan arrived in the first week of
March. He first stayed at Pias' house in
Porur where he was given a detailed
briefing on the shelters and the people
who had been recruited by Muthuraja
and Baby Subramaniyam.

S
HIVARASAN'S arrival in Madras
completed the elaborate web spun
by Pirabhakaran in the jungles of
Jaffna for the execution of Rajiv Gandhi.
From now on, the key role in the plot
would be played by Shivarasan. Every-
thing was working to plan. Shivarasan,
himself an expert on explosives, exam-
ined Arivu's design for a human bomb
and pronounced it suitable. He asked
Baby Subramaniyam and Muthuraja to
leave for Sri Lanka as it would not be safe
for them to live in India any longer. By
the end of March, Muthuraja and Baby
Subramaniyam left for Jaffna.
Shivarasan moved to the Bhagyna-
than household where he discussed the
plan with Murugan, Nalini and
Bhagynathan. He told them that he had
somebody in mind who would act as the
human-bomb. He also asked
Bhagynathan to look for a photogra-
pher who could be trusted. However, the
target was still kept secret. Ravi
Shankaran and Haribabu, old-time
friends, were then brought into the
picture. Sensing that they were being
which contained the crucial film that recorded the fateful moments involved in a specific operation of the
LTTE, both realised that they had
also provided another hide-out for the when his return to power was becoming reached a point of no-return.
team. Pias and Arivu were told to imminent. Murugan thus had no prob- The next step was to prove the most
organise a fake licence for a two- lem in finalising the third hide-out. With fatefulShivarasan returned to Jaffna
wheeler. three safe shelters, an electronic expert to bring back his human-bomb. In
In end-February, Muthuraja intro- in Arivu who had been asked to impro- Jaffna, he met Pirabhakaran and briefed
duced Murugan to Bhagynathan's fam- vise a bomb out of grenades that could be him on the progress that had taken place
ily. By then, Nalini had developed a deep detonated by a suicide bomber, three in Madras. Pirabhakaran asked
sense of hatred for Rajiv G andhi at a time converts in Nalini, Padma and Bhagy- Shivarasan to make sure that they un-

FEBRUARY 1991
An explosive expert of the
LTTE, Murugan discusses the design of the bomb
required with Arivu at the iatter's Porur house.

The second LTTE recruiter, Muthuraja, cultivates two free


lance photographers, Haribabu and Ravi Shankaran who
will film the actual assassination.

J U L Y 15, 1991 I N D I A TODAY 25


SPECIAL INVESTIGATION

dertake dry-runs before the actual oper- a local tailor and had the vest made of
ation and ordered that the whole exer- blue denim, a fabric heavy enough to
cise be photographed for his viewing. support the one-kilo bomb. Once the
Shivarasan then selected his human vest was ready, Arivu carefully fixed the
bombsDhanu alias Gayatri and bomb onto the vest. The weapon that
Shubha alias Shalini, two women mem- would reduce Rajiv Gandhi and at least
bers of the LITE'S shadow squad. Inci- 16 others to a mangled heap was now
dentally, both the girls happened to be ready to be put to use .
his cousins. He was back in Madras

W
within a week with the two girls in tow. ITH this, Shivarasan was
The next step was to procure the explo- eady to stage the dry-runs
sives (C4 variety of RDX), the same rdered by Pirabhakaran. The
yellow-coloured plastic explosives he first dry-run took place on April 18 at the
had used to kill the EPRLF leader J. favourite spot for political ralliesMa-
Padmanabha. With the LITE'S vast net- rina Beach in Madras. Marina Beach
work in Tamil Nadu, obtaining the was the venue for Rajiv Gandhi's first
explosive was the least of the problems. campaign meeting in Tamil Nadu
Shivarasan was now all set to carry out which was also addressed by the AI ADMK
his leader's ordersthe assassination of leader Jayalalitha. The meeting was
Rajiv Gandhi. photographed by Ravi Shankaran while
In Madras, Dhanu and Shubha had Shubha Sundaram's agency took a
been taken to Nalini's house where video recording. However, the potential
Murugan was awaiting them. Shiva- assassins did not attempt to get too close
rasan kept the othersPias, Jaykuma- to the two leaders. Incidentally,
ran and Arivuaway from the plan- Haribabu, who was present at the trial
ning sessions which were to follow. But run along with Ravi Shankaran, had his
in a separate meeting, Shivarasan ex- first inkling that the target was going to
plained to Arivu the specifics of the be a politician.
bomb he required. Without disclosing The next dry-run was executed on
the operation in detail, he asked for a May 12 at a meeting featuring V.P.
bomb that could be easily hidden be- Singh and Karunanidhi at Thiruvallur
neath the clothes and fitted around the in Arkonam, 40 km away from Madras.
waist of a female person. This time, the exercise was more fruitful
Arivu got down to work and came as Dhanu was able to touch the feet of
up with an ingenious design for a belt- V.P. Singh in much the same manner as
bomb. Six grenades could be fitted in a she would do with Rajiv Gandhi on the
series on the belt. Each grenade would be fateful night of May 21. This session was
made up of 80 gm of the C4 RDX (2,800 also shot on video by the Shubha Photo
splinters of 2.0 mm each) enclosed with- Agency. The video film is now in posses- Seconds after the fatal blast,
in a casing of TNT. The grenades were sion of the investigating team.
connected in parallel with silver wires Following two successful rehears- Shivarasan reached Nalini's house with
and the circuit was completed with two als, Shivarasan now looked for the right a newspaper clipping which detailed
toggle switches, one for arming and the opportunity for the actual assassina- Rajiv's public meetings on May 21 end-
other for triggering the bomb. The de- tion . Time was running out. The May 21 ing at Sriperumbudur that night. The
vice was charged with a 9 mm battery. meeting at Sriperumbudur was an- venue was decided.
After approving the bomb, Shiva- nounced two days in advance and it Ravi Shankaran called Haribabu
rasan instructed Murugan to find a provided the bestand the lastoppor- and asked him to purchase the garland
tailor to stitch the vest. Murugan found tunity. On the morning of May 20, and then meet Shivarasan and others at

APRIL 1991
Shivarasan returns to Tamil
Nadu with human bombs Dhanu and Shubha, women
Tigers of the shadow squad.

Shivarasan returns to Jaffna to brief Pirabhakaran who


orders dry-runs before the actual execution and the
exercise to be photographed for his viewing.

26
4.30 p.m., Nalini, Shubha, Dhanu and
Shivarasan left for Parry's Corner for
their rendezvous with Haribabu.
At Parry's Corner, near the main bus
stand of Madras city, Haribabu was
waiting with the sandalwood garland
which he had bought an hour earlier
from the state emporium Poompuhar.
The five conspirators boarded a bus for
Sriperumbudur where they reached
around 8 o'clock in the evening.

ALL five, with Dhanu holding the


/\, positioned themselves
JL JL around the VIP enclosure. At
one point, they were questioned by a
woman sub-inspector on duty, Ansuya
Kumari. Haribabu said he was a press
cameraman and was there to take the
photograph of the girl (Dhanu) garland-
ing Rajiv Gandhi. The sub-inspector
told them that Rajiv was coming much
later and hence there was no need for
them to be around so early and the
photographer should go to the press
enclosure. They moved away. Shubha
and Nalini sat in the crowd. Shivarasan
took his position near the dais. He
carried a pistol as he was the lone
member of the back-up team. Dhanu
and Haribabu stood close to the red
carpet on which Rajiv would walk on his
way to the dais.
Rajiv arrived at around 10 p.m. and
was immediately surrounded by people
trying to garland him. The sub-inspec-
tor, Ansuya, once again tried to prevent
Dhanu from getting close to Rajiv. She
fire can be seen smouldering at Rajiv's feet had almost caught hold of the assassin
but for Rajiv Gandhi, who, according to
Nalini's house on the afternoon of May The night of May 20 was spent in a Ansuya, said: "Let everybody get a
21. Haribabu then asked Ravi relaxed mood. The conspirators chance." Ansuya moved awaythus
Shankaran to get him a camera along watched a film. None of the girls, par- saving her own life. Dhanu bent down as
with a film roll. Ravi Shankaran, instead ticularly Dhanu, showed any sign of if she wanted to touch Rajiv's feet. Rajiv
of giving Haribabu one of his own nervousness. Shubha tried out the in turn bent to lift her up. Dhanu's right
cameras, borrowed one from a friend denim vest on Dhanu. She also'tried on finger activated the bomb.
Deepak, and gave it to Haribabu along the spectacles she would wear for dis- Soon after the blast, Nalini and
with a Konika colour roll. guise for the first time. The next day at Shubha walked towards the bus stand

APRIL 1991 APRIL 1991


The dry-run at Rajiv's Marina
Beach rally. Dhanu gets closer to the dais than
Shivarasan. Clicked by Ravi Shankaran and Haribabu.

Shivarasan, himself an explosives expert, examines


Arivu's design of how the bomb will work before pronounc-
ing it suitable.

JULY 15, 1991 I N D I A TODAY 27


SPECIAL INVESTIGATION

where they were to meet Shivarasan belt-bomb she wore with


who told them that Rajiv Gandhi, pieces of flesh attached,
Dhanu and Haribabu were dead and two toggle switches, wires
they better make a getaway. They took used in the bomb and a
an auto-rickshaw till Poonamali from half-burnt 9-volt battery.
where they took another to reach The experts carried out
Shivarasan's Porur house. Shivarasan DNA printing of the pieces
rang up Shubha Sundaram and told him of flesh found at the spot.
that though Haribabu had died in the The flesh piece attached to
blast, his camera was intact and the belt matched with the
Sundaram should try and recover it. portion of the woman's
But because of the disturbance in the body found. That estab-
city, they were confined to the house all lished convincingly the
through the day. On the night of May theory of the assassin be-
21, Sundaram swung into action. He ing a human-bomb.
rang up the house of a photographer, T.
Ramamurthy, and was told that Rama-

N
EXT, the bomb ex-
murthy had called from the Poonamali perts of the Na-
police station to say that he was slightly tional Security
injured in the blast and would take some Guards reconstructed the
time to reach home. Sundaram then denim vest and part of the
rang up the Poonamali police station belt. Meanwhile, on May
and asked Ramamurthy if he had 25, the arrest of an LTTE
brought the camera from Haribabu. member, Shankar, at
Ramamurthy told him that was' 'not his Vedaraniam port, pro-
job". Meanwhile, Sundaram had in- vided another break-
formed Ravi Shankaran about the ne- through. Shankar, when
cessity of recovering Haribabu's camera intercepted, told the
and the crucial film roll. local police that he had
By then, the SIT had launched its been sent to India by Pira-
massive investigation. Officials had vis- bhakaran in order to kill
ited the Madras General Hospital to get Varadaraja Perumal who
an eyewitness account from the victims. has been given refuge by
Ansuya gave them a description of some the Indian Government in
"suspicious characters" she had seen Bhopal.
roaming around with a photographer. The matter was imme-
By then, the photographs taken by diately brought to the no-
Haribabuhadbeen developed. Ansuya's tice of the SIT in Madras. Arivu (left) who designed the bomb
account had made them suspicious Shankar, when shown
about certain characters featured in the the pictures taken by Haribabu, identi- also identified the kurta-pyjama clad
pictures including that of the woman fied the kurta-pyjama clad man in the man as Raghu adding that he had
holding a sandalwood garland along photographs as Raghuvaran, an explo- travelled during the Padmanabha kill-
with Shivarasan. Next day, Ansuya sive expert and a trusted lieutenant of ing in his speedboat between Veda-
confirmed that they were the same Pirabhakaran who was involved in the raniam and Point Pedro of Jaffna.
people she had spotted. killing of EPRLF leader Padmanabha. Of A notebook recovered from
The next morning, the SIT visited the the several LTTE activists and Shankaran's possession carried a Ma-
scene of crime where they found parts of sympathisers rounded up for interroga- dras telephone number with two names:
Dhanu's dress, strips of the vest and the tion, one Jagdishan from Vedaraniam Nalini and Murugan. The telephone

MAY 1991 MAY 1991


At Nalini's house Shubha
helps Dhanu try on the denim jacket with the bomb. The
bomb would be undetectable under her salwar-kameez.

The second dry-run at the V.P. Singh rally in Thiruvallur.


Dhanu is able to touch Singh's feet in much the same
manner as she would with Rajiv Gandhi.

28
looking for Haribabu's Working round the clock, the SIT had
camera. Haribabu's managed to establish the identities of the
mother, Laxmi, told the kurta-pyjama clad man, the actual as-
SIT that Ravi Shankaran sassin, her accomplices Shubha,
had visited their house on Murugan and Nalini. Further interroga-
May 22 morning to in- tion of Bhagynathan, Shubha Sunda-
quire about the camera ram and Ravi Shankaran revealed more
but never told them about details of the plot.
his death. Another friend While this was going on, Murugan
ofHaribabu, Kannan, also and Nalini were in Tirupati where he
told the SIT the same story. planned to shave his head to celebrate
This led the SIT to tap the the success of the operation. They also
phones of the two photog- planned to get married. But by now,
raphers. Both were put Nalini's photograph had been splashed
under surveillance. all over the state so they gave up the
idea. Presuming the coastal areas would
HE SIT officials vis- be heavily patrolled, both of them de-

T: ited Sriperumbudur
again with the pic-
tures shot by Haribabu of
cided to return to Madras.
They were unaware that scores of
police teams were waiting for them at all
the crowd which was cir- the railway and bus stations in Madras.
culated among the local The arrest of Murugan and Nalini was
population. Through a the biggest breakthrough in the investi-
painstaking process of gation. Their interrogation not only
elimination, only four or revealed the entire plot but also pointed
five characters were left a conclusive finger at Pirabhakaran as
unidentified and two of the mastermind. Murugan admitted
them turned out to be that he had direct orders from
Shubha and Nalini. Pirabhakaran. With their confession,
A study of the photo the arrests of Arivu and Robert Pias
album seized from Ravi quickly followed.
Shankaran also showed But despite the successes notched up
Nalini along with a few so far, SIT chief D.R. Karthikeyan still
others. During question- feels that "there is a long way to go". As
ing, Ravi Shankaran told he told INDIA TODAY: "We are yet to catch
the SIT that he knew one of the main culprit (now popularly known
'the characters in the pho- as one-eyed-Jack because of his one
and Pias were crucial links in the plot tograph from his album. It glass eye) which might help us stretch
turned out to be Nalini's the arm of law deep inside the forest of
authorities confirmed the identity of the brother, Bhagynathan. Jaffna. I am not jumping to any conclu-
holders of the number. Bhagynathan was picked up from sion about the motive or conspiracy
Meanwhile, a study of Padma- his printing press but Nalini and behind the crime. But we have solved,
nabha's killing revealed that the two Murugan managed to flee. Bhagy- how the assassination was executed. I
unexploded grenades found from the nathan told the SIT how he came under must say that my colleagues have been
spot contained C4 RDX explosives. The the influence of Baby Subramaniyam doing a remarkable job." Judging by the
SIT also received a tip-off about two and about the operatives he had har- chilling and detailed reconstruction of
photographers, Shubha Sundaram and boured. He identified the mysterious the plot to kill Rajiv Gandhi, that is
Ravi Shankaran, who were desperately kurta-pyjama clad man as Shivarasan. clearly no idle boast.

MAY 1991
Dhanu garlands Rajiv and
then bends down to touch his feet. As he in turn bends to
raise her up, she triggers the bomb.

Ansuya, a sub-inspector, tries to prevent Dhanu from


getting too close to Rajiv but is prevented by Rajiv himself
who says: "Let everybody get a chance."

5. 1991 * I N D I A TODAY 29

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