'Absolution for lapse' says TN cop who failed to record Perarivalan's confession in 1991

The officer in an interview to the media stated that in 2013 that he did not record the statement of Arivu (Perarivalan) of him being not aware of why he was asked to buy the battery. 

Published: 18th May 2022 05:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2022 07:28 AM   |  A+A-

Perarivalan, convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, with his mother Arputham Ammal after Supreme Court released him using special powers, at his house in Jolarpet. (Photo | Express)

Perarivalan, convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, with his mother Arputham Ammal after Supreme Court released him using special powers, at his house in Jolarpet. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: For 31 years, former Superintendent of Police of the Central Bureau of Investigation V Thiagarajan, had been living with the guilt of failing to record verbatim the confession of Perarivalan which could have resulted in the latter walking free much earlier.

The officer in an interview to the media in 2013 stated that he did not record the statement of Arivu (Perarivalan) not being aware of why the latter was asked to buy the battery used in the bomb that killed former PM Rajiv Gandhi. This could have been evidence that Perarivalan had no knowledge of the plot.

At that time, Thiagarajan had retorted, “If he did not know that there was going to be a killing, how can you make him party to the killing? It is illogical, it is against the evidence on record."

"There was a lapse and you are responsible and when you come out you get all brickbats and then it is an absolution of your own lapse," says Thiagarjan when queried on how he lived with it.

Thiagarajan, who was assigned the task of recording the statement of accused persons in 1991, says during the period it dawned on him that he was just an insignificant part of the system, while calling for institutional and systemic reforms.

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"It is then you realise that you yourself are carrying individually a burden of your commissions and omissions, it is also part of institutional and the system," says the police officer.

"I again insist that it is not an alibi being put up for your individual lapse. As an individual, you are responsible for your commissions and omissions. Having said that, there are already institutional dimensions and systemic dimensions also," he said   

"The slip up can happen if you are investigating as a team, the things are in flux. The investigating agency not only collects evidence, assesses and evaluates them and when further evidence comes, you go back and reappraise the older evidence. In the process, it is quite likely you slip up. Anybody can slip up at the human level somewhere and that will result in the miscarriage of justice if not subversion of justice," he said reacting to a query on the kind of pressure he faced following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

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Thiagarajan said that now this part is a closed chapter. He said that the Supreme Court would not have referred to his disclosure in freeing Perarivalan. "They have scrupulously refrained from that portion. This is an aspect that the court has not adverted at all. It is not something which they can draw attention to or refer to," says Thiagarajan. 

Thiagarajan was also hesitant to react to the judgement given by the Supreme Court, which he termed as historic.

"The Supreme Court has invoked its own inherent powers to do full justice. It is not only releasing a man after 30 years, which is overdue but further re-imposing the role of the governor and sovereign powers of our state in the federal setup. This will have a multi-dimensional implication. The Union government is not going to keep quiet. It is not about the individual. The judgement has touched upon larger issues and the Apex court used its inherent powers to do full justice regardless of what the state or Centre do or did not do, " he said.



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