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‘None expected the case to be solved’

‘I know they are a deadly terrorist group and that killing is their hobby. But I have no fear.’

May 21 marked 30 years since Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Sriperumbudur.

It is a day in infamy that will never be forgotten.

The fourth of a four-part interview, which was first published on Rediff.com in April 1998.

The man who investigated the most sensational murder case of the 1990s, the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, Devarayapuram Ramasamy Karthikeyan spoke to Rajesh Ramachandran about the Rajiv Gandhi murder investigation.

Shouldn’t there be a time-frame for an investigation?

If you keep a time-frame the powerful parties can always get it delayed so that you close the case.

Cases should be pursued vigorously till the logical end, it is not the time that matters.

If you put a time-frame the powerful fellows can always get things complicated and after a year they can say the time is over so you close the case.

The accused will always try to delay the trial. Does that mean that after two years the accused should be let free and the trial closed?

What is the threat perception against you?

For me the CRPF is the most trusted organisation and they took care of my security. It is not my concern, it is the job of the government. I have gone beyond the call of the duty.

Many told me, you are a man from Tamil Nadu, don’t accept it, give up. But it was duty for me.

Justice J S Verma had told me, ‘Destiny has placed on your shoulders a task and irrespective of the fact that you have to sacrifice a lot personally and career-wise, you should finish it. You would be running a risk forever, normal life is gone and you have to work against all thankless people. Still you have to take it because it is so important for the prestige, security and integrity of the nation.’

Many in the CBI was offered the case on May 22. (former CBI joint director K) Madhavan told me this much later and I got it confirmed.

Madhavan said he cannot handle it. Later they all told me that, we didn’t want to do it and you were foolish to accept the case.

None of them expected the case to be solved.

If it is not detected then it would affect your reputation. If you detect it, it would be a deadly terrorist group. Either you will be killed or you are going to face this ignominy.

Number three, which they didn’t know, is that one had to endure two commissions of enquiry. And one commission really made our life miserable. And leading politicians playing politics in this, forgetting what the duty to the nation is.

Throwing mud at each other became more important than.

With all this I got so frustrated that I went to Kailash Mansarovar on a pilgrimage. I came back with a lot of inner strength. I said, I don’t care for these characters.

Then I underwent a course in Vipasana and meditation and gained much inner strength.

By and large people were with me all right, up to a point. Beyond that nobody was with me, senior officers of CBI or the ministers.

The responsibility to ensure the conduct of the investigation and the trial was on my shoulders. I was kept going by this plus what Justice Verma told me.

At every point they delayed my promotion and you know everything that was possible to demotivate me was done.

So this process of Vipasana and meditation gave me so much of inner strength which no management school would have given me.

Now when I go out I am absolutely at peace with myself with no bitterness to anyone.

I am a totally philosophical man today, than what I was seven years back.

As far as security is concerned I have never felt any fear in my entire life. You fear only when you have done a wrong deed.

Even earlier, I hail from a village and I never knew what fear is. Now as far as this particular matter is concerned I have not done anything untrue, unethical or anything illegal.

My task was the pursuit of the truth. Find out who killed my leader, that is my duty also. And we have followed a path of scientific investigation and have booked people only when there is clear evidence.

So my conscience is clear. I have not implicated anybody against whom there is no evidence and I have not left out anybody against whom there is evidence.

I know that they are a deadly terrorist group and that killing is their hobby. But I have no fear.

But they are not mercenaries and they kill if they think they have to kill for their cause.

I know them very well, they have commitment. They know very well that they have not been falsely charged.

Okay, still they can kill, because you don’t expect such people to be rational. They can also say that this fellow found it out and it’s because of him that we are in serious trouble, they can do it.

But the thing is, so what? Everybody doesn’t get the opportunity to do what I have done and I am satisfied about it.

Their complaint is why should I take a personal interest when the Jain Commission itself could have scuttled the trial?

In the process of doing duty so many men get killed every day. I am also holding a post in the CRPF, I issue cheques every month to widows whose husbands were killed fighting for the nation in various parts of the country.

So what is so special about me?

What about your family?

There are so many other families that suffer like this. Fortunately my family also knows very well about all this.

All of them have gone to Kailash Mansarovar, my wife, daughter and son, all have gone through the Vipasana course.

Death will come when it has to. I believe in it. That is why you find me absolutely relaxed.

I go everywhere, there is a restriction of movement all right. But you know I never live in fear even for a moment. Never.

Sometimes I am concerned about my children because my son is still studying, has not settled in life. But god will take care of it.

It is all a passing phase. In fact I feel that death is not an end in itself.

Death will happen one day and now there is one more possibility of being targeted, but that does not alter the course of my life.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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