The Central Bureau of Investigation director, who also heads the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency investigating the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has moved the Supreme Court challenging a Madras high court order releasing two Sri Lankan nationals suspected of having played key roles in the assassination of the former prime minister in 1991.
The special leave petition filed by the CBI challenging the April 25 high court order states that the suspects Lingam and Vasanthan "played an important role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. It has come to light during the course of investigations by the SIT [a special investigation team set up soon after the assassination] as well as that of MDMA that the respondents are closely associated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam."
Lingam and Vasanthan, lodged in a special camp for Sri Lankan refugees at Chengalpattu, were detained under the Foreigners Act for entering India without valid travel documents.
The appeal said the Memorandum of Action Taken issued by the Central government on the Jain Commission Report envisaged the setting up of the MDMA to investigate the roles of 21 suspects in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Although the names of Lingam and Vasanthan were not included among the 21 accused listed in the memorandum, the MDMA, while investigating the activities of the suspects,
The CBI, in its appeal, said Lingam used to hold "secret discussions with Sivarasan, the one-eyed key accused in the assassination case. He had committed suicide on being cornered by a Special Investigation Team.
The MDMA found that "Lingam had also received the nine-member killer squad comprising Sivarasan, Dhanu alias Anbu, Subbha alias Nithya, Neru alias Gokul, Suthandiraja alias Santhan, Shankar alias Koneswaran, Vijayanandan alias Hariyya, Ruban alias Suresh and driver Anna alias Keerthi on its arrival at Kodaikkarai on May 1, 1991 to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi," the agency said.
On the role of Vasanthan, the CBI alleged he had "actively participated in arranging for the accommodation of Sivarasan, Subha and Neru at Bangalore after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 at Sreeperambudur."
The agency said the MDMA, apart from conducting detailed investigations in India, has also sent a Letter Rogatory to Sri Lanka on April 23, 2001 through a designated TADA court, Chennai for investigation there.
The CBI said Lingam and Vasanthan being Sri Lankan nationals, it would be difficult to secure their presence for interrogation after their release.