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|January 27, 1998||
Penchant for photographic record nailed LTTE
Ten snaps vividly capturing the 'assassination of the century' helped the Special Investigation Team to break open a blind case in a short time of three weeks.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which has a penchant for documenting the history of a Tamil Eelam in the making, had entrusted the task of filming the physical liquidation of Rajiv Gandhi to Haribabu, a local photographer who also perished in the blast in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
Haribabu's body lay among the dead, but the camera was miraculously intact. The photographer formed part of the five-member assassination squad headed by Sivarasan and the human bomb Dhanu.
The deceased-accused, who used to take videos and photographs for the LTTE, exposed 10 frames in all, showing the team waiting in anticipation to carry out the dastardly act based on a diabolical plot.
His first photograph showed Dhanu holding a garland and Sivarasan, a few feet away. The second snap showed Subha, the stand-by assassin, and Nalini, the first accused in the case.
Nalini and Subha were sitting among the crowd looking tense just before Rajiv Gandhi's arrival.
Frames four to 10 captured his arrival, Gandhi listening to a poem read out by a girl, the human bomb holding a sandalwood garland inching closer to her target and the explosion itself in which Gandhi, the assassin and the photographer perished among others.
Haribabu had been engaged by freelance photographer Subha Sundaram, another accused in the case, to photograph the event as a record for the LTTE leadership.
The LTTE's penchant for documentation is borne out by the seizure of hundreds of photographs and over 450 video cassettes that it had taken in its quest for a separate homeland.
The organisation had even videographed the dry-run conducted on former prime minister V P Singh in the city, barely a fortnight before Rajiv's assassination with Dhanu and Sivarasan 'testing' whether they could infiltrate the security ring and reach a target.
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