Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home Whats New  Trans State Nation  One World Unfolding Consciousness Comments Search

Jain Commission Interim Report

Growth of Sri Lankan Tamil Militancy in Tamil Nadu
Chapter II -
Phase III (1989 - May l991)

Sections 30 to 34

30. Interference in Padmanabha investigation by Shri R Nagarajan, Home Secretary | 31. Involvement of DMK members in Padmanabha assassination | 32. Controversy arising out of disclosures | 33. Links between Padmanabha assassination case and Rajiv Gandhi assassination case | 34. Measures initiated by the government of Tamil Nadu after Padmanabha assassination

Interference in the Padmanabha Investigation by Shri R. Nagarajan, Home Secreatry

56.1 The apparent inaction of the Police and their failure to nab the accused at the initial stages; their failure to take follow up action to detect the case for over one year and the general approach of apathy can be explained only in the light of subsequent disclosures during the further investigations carried out by the 'Q' Branch, CID. Investigations, inter alia, disclosed the involvement of the then Home Secretary, Tamil Nadu, Shri R. Nagarajan, in the crime. It has been alleged that Shri R. Nagarajan interfered with the investigations and prevented the local police from apprehending the accused soon after the crime. As per the affidavit of Shri S. Sripall :-

Affidavit no. 40/92-JCI of S. Sripall

26."....the investigation in the two cases viz. Pattinamkathan shoot-out and Padmanabha murder case were not allowed to proceed on the right line as stated by Tvl. Radhakrishnan (the then Dy.Commissioner of Police, Law and Order (Central), Madras City Police), G.S. Ramanan (the then Dy. Inspr. Genl. of Police, Ramanathapuram Range) and R. Nagarajan (the then Home Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu). In his statement given before the Judicial Magistrate, Tiruchirapalli under sec. 164(5) Cr.P.C. Thiru Nagarajan has further stated that the LTTE had enjoyed political patronage and on the oral instructions by the then Chief Minister, the Law enforcing machinery had given them encouragement and they enjoyed the local support politically for their activities.

Shri Nagarajan was arrested and arraigned as A-10 in the chargesheet filed by the TANSIT in this case. He is presently on bail and facing trial. On this aspect, Shri J. Ramakrishnan, Superintendent of Police, has deposed as follows :-

Deposition of Shri J. Ramakrishnan, SP

"........ investigation revealed that A-10 had interfered in the investigation. There is evidence to this aspect by certain police officers, they had stated in their statements. The role of A-10 is stated by the two witnesses, copy of the statement is marked as Exhs.TN/24 and TN/25. They are the typed copies of the statement. A letter was recovered during investigation from A-23. The letter is in Tamil marked as Exh./TN/26. It mentions the name of A- 10. A-10 has given a statement under Sec. 164(5) Cr.P.C. before the Judl. Magistrate No.1, Tiruchi, marked Ex.TN/27.

The accused persons who left for Jaffna could not be arrested due to interference by A-10. Based on the statements of the Police officers, the reasons can be found from the case diary. The relevant portion is marked as Exh./TN/28."

In his statement given to the investigating officer of Padmanabha case (Ex. TN 25), Shri T. Radhakrishnan, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, has, inter alia, stated that when he got the information about the assassination, he rushed to the spot and then briefed Shri Nagarajan on phone. Shri Nagarajan instructed him not to proceed until further orders. Because of the instructions given by Shri R. Nagarajan, he could not pursue the killers.

These disclosures during the investigation of this case throw a new light on the entire gamut of LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu during the period.

Selvi J. Jayalalitha, leader of the AIADMK and former Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu, has deposed at length before the Commission about her decision to order a reinvestigation of the Padmanabha case. She has clearly alleged inaction both on the part of the State Government, ruled by DMK in investigating the case as well as the Central Government of V.P. Singh with regard to monitoring the action on the part of the State Government. She stated :-

Deposition of Selvi J. Jayalalitha dt. 17.11.96 (page. 5)

"After I became the CM, we constituted the Tamil Nadu Special Investigation Team (TANSIT) to investigate the murder of EPRLF leader Padmanabha and his colleagues and some innocent civilians. Until the DMK was in power they made no efforts to nab the killers nor to investigate the case. Some investigation was begun during the period of President's rule after dismissal of DMK Govt in January, 1991."

The witness was referred to the last para col. 1 of Ex.86 ........

"I was referring what I had in mind was the massacre of Padmanabha and his colleagues and the fact that the perpetrators of the crime was allowed to travel 350 kms to Thanjavur without being stopped by the police and were allowed to cross the Palk Strait and escaped to Sri Lanka and there was no record of the Central Govt having pulled up the State Govt on this score........ "

Involvement of DMK Members in Padmanabha's Assassination

56.2 Further investigations conducted by the TANSIT into Padmanabha's assassination also, inter alia, disclosed that several other Indian accused were also found involved in harbouring and sheltering the accused. These included Smt. Subbulaxmi Jagadeesan,(A-24) a Minister in the DMK cabinet, her husband Jagadeesan (A-25) and Ravichandran ( A- 26) - brother of DMK MP Shri Vai Gopalasamy. Involvement of some members of the DK, notably Irumborai (A-22) and Veerasekharan (A-23) was also disclosed. All these accused were arrested and chargesheeted. They are facing trial. Details of the involvement of some of the accused are found in the affidavit of Shri Sripall :-

Affidavit no. 40/92-JCI of S. Sripall

30. ..... After 1.8.1991, seventeen (17) more persons were arrested including R. Nagarajan, the then Home Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu and Veerasekaran, an advocate of Madras. Veerasekaran is a D.K. activist, a xerox copy of whose letter was received by post by the Superintendent of Police, `Q' Branch, C.I.D., Madras. The letter was addressed to Kittu alias Krishnakumar of LTTE. It was mentioned in the letter that R. Nagarajan, the then Home Secretary would extend all help if he was contacted.

31. .......V. Ravichandran, brother of Thiru Vai. Gopalsamy, M.P. was arrested on 15.11.1991 for harbouring, aiding and assisting the LTTE cadres Santhan, Guna @ Gunaraj and others who are involved in R.2 Kodambakkam Police station Cr.No.1205/90 regarding murder of Padmanabha and others. In addition, he had also given shelter to 10 wounded LTTE cadres for more than a year. He has been remanded to judicial custody.

32. .......Tmt. Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan, former Minister in the erstwhile D.M.K. Ministry had her husband Jagadeesan were also arrested on 9.1.1992 on a Non-Bailable Warrant issued by the Hon'ble Designated Court for harbouring, aiding and assisting Santhan @ Gundu Santhan and Vasanthan involved in Kodambakkam P.S. Cr. No.1205/90 - Padmanabha murder case."

After investigations, chargesheet in this case was laid by TANSIT on 12th. August, 1992. The case is pending trial before a designated court in Madras.

Controversy Arising Out of the Disclosures

56.3 It has been vehemently submitted before the Commission by the DMK and its witnesses that there does not exist any truth in the allegations and the then State Government machinery did its best to detect the case. Steps were taken by the Government to monitor the progress of the investigation and preventive steps were taken to curb the militant activities in the State after the killing of Padmanabha.

Shri R. Nagarajan, in his statement given before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Trichy, u/s 164 (5) Cr.P.C. in connection with this case, has gone into great details while dealing with the reasons for the inaction on the part of local police to nab the killers. He puts the blame entirely at the doorstep of the Chief Minister Shri M. Karunanidhi :-

Statement of R. Nagarajan u/s 164 (5) Cr.P.C.

10. "Regarding the shoot out instance at Kodambakkam, on 19.6.90, E.P.R.L.F. leader Thiru Padmanabha and 14 others were killed. This was reported to me at about 8.45 p.m. when I reached home from the Secretariat by Thiru K.Ramanujam then S.P.-S.S.B. Immediately, I tried to contact the City Police Commissioner Thiru Rajasekaran Nair, but I was told that he reached the spot with the City Deputy Commissioner to attend the necessary arrangements. Meanwhile, I informed this news to the then Chief Minister over telephone who was at New Delhi, in Tamil Nadu House. When he asked for more details, I was not in a position to give more information, because by the time I could not contact any of the top Police Officials since they were all at the spot of occurrence.

At 9.30 p.m. the City Police Commissioner contacted me and informed me in greater details how the incident happened and how the assailants operated and escaped in white Ambassador Car. Few minutes after, D.G.P. came on the line and informed me that the Police alert was given and the I.G. of Police (Crimes) Thiru Durairaju was put in charge of tracing out the assailants. At about 10.45 p.m. once again D.G.P. contacted me and explained the arrangements done already and when I asked him what steps were taken to apprehend the culprits, he informed me that the Chief Minister asked him that the Police need not evince keen interest to trace them out, till his arrival next day for further instructions from him.

When the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Central Range, Madras City and few other Police officials contacted me I told them to keep in touch with the D.G.P. who only having frequent contacts with the Chief Minister at New Delhi. On the same night, it was stated there was a B.B.C. report stating that the D.G.P. had denied the L.T.T.E hand in the shoot out. When this was brought to my notice, I questioned the D.G.P. how the report was broadcasted by B.B.C and D.G.P. denied it. When I asked about the Chief Minister's instructions to the D.G.P. in tracing out the assailants as reported by D.G.P. over phone to me to D.I.G. C.I.D. Thiru Jaffar Ali who had also confirmed it. ...

Next day I.G. (Crimes) Thiru Durairaj informed me in the Law and Order meeting that the assailants report to have stopped at Villupuram near Railway gate and snatched another Maruthi Van belonging to some passer and the person to whom the Maruthi Van belongs to and met him in his office and explained how it happened and he had ordered for a detailed enquiry. On 20.6.90, when Chief Minister returned from New Delhi and took up a special Law and Order meeting, and discussed the matter. He informed the I.G.(Crimes) and D.I.G. C.I.D. to meet him everyday and inform him the progress in investigation. Thereafter, these officers reported directly to then Chief Minister and only weekly reports were received by us in the Secretariat which reflected no progress.

Myself and the Chief Secretary could see that there was slackness on the part of the Crime Branch to investigate the case and ultimately they reported that the assailants .. escaped to Sri Lanka. During these period we were told by the 'Q' Branch in the weekly Law and Order meeting that some local L.T.T.E. cadets used to meet the then Chief Minister at his Oliwar Road house and the details of such meetings and the names of those persons were known to his Deputy Secretary Thiru Shanmughanathan, who used to fix up appointments, keeping the contact address of these people and his Security men also aware of that."

Denying this allegation, Shri M. Karunanidhi deposed before the Commission :-

Deposition of Shri.M.Karunanidhi, Chief Minister on 22.11.1996.

"The statement made by Nagarajan in connection with Padmanabha case, I state that all the statements are falsehood. I was in Delhi at the time of the Padmanabha incident. On learning about the incident in Delhi I immediately contacted Nagarajan and gave instructions to apprehend the culprits and intensify investigations. I also told him that LTTE must be involved in this. I have also given a Press statement to that effect in Delhi which has appeared in the Hindu dated 20-6-1990 (Delhi) under the heading "LTTE's involvement suspected". this clipping is marked as Exh.551.

However, the inertia on the part of the State police remains unexplained. The slackness on the part of the local police in apprehending the accused has also been spoken about by Shri N.V. Vathsan, the then Joint Director, SIB, Madras. In his deposition before the Commission, he stated :-

Deposition of N.V. Vathsan, dt. 22.01.97

"In connection with Padmanabha killing, I remember to have told the then Home Secretary Shri R. Nagarajan that the killers were likely to escape from Vedaranyam coast and that the State Govt. should tighten security/vigilance in that area in particular. In that meeting, Home Secretary was present, DGP was present, D.I.G.(Intelligence) was present. I learnt subsequently that an officer of the rank of S.P. was sent to the area; but by that time the culprits had made good their escape. The killers had left about 2-3 days after covering about 300 Kms. It was to my knowledge that there were elements sympathetic to the LTTE in the State Admn. ..... The investigation was taken up by the State Police and we lost interest in the investigation of that killing......"

Narrating this information passed on by the Intelligence Bureau, Shri R. Nagarajan deposed before the Commission that :-

Deposition of R. Nagarajan dt. 17-9-90

"In Padmanabha case the accused persons escaped. We have no information whether they left the shores. They left the scene of the occurrence. IB informed me that the accused have left the country. The local police did not give any information in respect of the killers of Padmanabha whether they were moving in Tamil Nadu or their whereabouts till I was Home Secretary......"

While Shri R. Nagarajan has admitted and insinuated that the local police did not take efforts to either nab the Padmanabha killers or to investigate the case further, Shri Jaffar Ali, DIG (CID), Tamil Nadu, during his deposition before the Commission, has attempted to put forward a version that there was no slackness on the part of the police, and everything possible was done to nab the killers. He deposed :-

Deposition of Shri S.I. Jaffar Ali dt 10.3.1997, (page 2)

"On 23.6.1990, I sent message to SPs to watch for one white Ambassador car suspected to be involved in the murder of Padmanabha and specifically requested to watch for finger prints in the car...

After assassination I came to know that Padmanabha had come to Madras .. in the morning of 19.6.1990.......

After the assassination of Padmanabha on the same night alert messages were given to all the SP to watch for the assailants and also protection to be given to refugee camps where we feared there may be assaults and counter- assaults. There was a meeting on 20.6.1990 in the Secretariat presided by Home Secretary in which DGP (Crime), Commissioner of Police, Madras, IGP (Law and Order), IGP (Crime), Joint Director, SIB, Dy, Director, SIB, DIG (Intelligence) and Additional Secretary (Public) participated. After discussion, it was decided that no group of EPRLF should be allowed to come from the refugee camp to Madras to attend the funeral ... since IB suspected involvement of Sri Lankan and/or Douglas Devananda who was close to Sri Lankan Govt., it was decided to have the grenades and bullets recovered from the spot to be checked by the Army for identification. On the same day we arrested about 100 militants. 163 militants were picked up same night. ....

After the assassination of Padmanabha the steps taken by TN Police were vehicle checks were conducted throughout the State. In Madras city itself, according to the Police Commissioner in 42 places vehicles were checked and 52 auto workshops were checked. Similar vehicle checks were conducted in other Districts also. ......... It is not correct that officials in the Tamil Nadu Admn and of the police are sympathetic towards the LTTE. Action was taken on my report and some LTTE militants were arrested and remanded later. Some of them were detailed under N.S.A. also. .........

I deny that there was any slackness on the part of T.N. Police is not apprehending the culprits of Padmanabha. There were 12 entry points to Madras City....... the identity of the assailants were not known and there was no specific information about the vehicle in which they escaped and we had no information about the direction in which the culprits went......"

Shri M. Karunanidhi also elaborated on the steps taken by the Police in apprehending the Padmanabha killers. In his deposition before the Commission, he stated :-

(Deposition of Shri.M.Karunanidhi dt. 17.1.97.)

"No final decision on the EPRLF leader Padmanabha murder case was delivered during the DMK Rule and even thereafter by the Court. As Chief Minister and Minister in charge of Home Affairs, I had not made any enquiry as to the further steps taken about the EPRLF Leader Padmanabha case since investigation was pending in the case when I was in power in 1989-90.

Investigation was continuing after July 1990 and till January 1991 when my Govt was dismissed. I can only say that investigation was not completed till my govt was in power, I am aware that persons involved in the murder of Padmanabha made good their escape to Jaffna, but I do not know how far they went, whether 300 miles or 400 miles...... the distance between Madras, between Thanjavur coast and Vedaranyam is about 200/300 miles. There are about 100 police stations enroute. All these police stations were alerted soon after Padmanabha's murder. Road blocks were placed. I am aware one of the ministers in my cabinet during the year 1989-91 Mrs. Subbulakshmi Jagdeesan was accused of harbouring the accused persons involved in the murder of Padmanabha during September 1991 ... "

In support of this version, and to counter the allegations raised by Shri Nagarajan, Shri Guhan, the then political advisor to Shri Karunanidhi deposed before the Commission that actually Shri Karunanidhi was quite upset with this development and had blamed the State Police for their inaction in apprehending the Padmanabha killers. He stated :-

(Deposition of Sh. S. Guhan dt. 7.10.96)

"On 20th June 1990 I called on the Chief Minister at his party office in the evening and he had returned from Delhi on 19th June 1990. I found the C.M. extremely upset at the assassination. He was extremely critical of the T.N.Police for not catching the culprits. I vividly recall that his exact words were 'what am I do with our useless police?' Later he arranged for a State funeral of Padmanabha and others who had been killed. When the witness was asked whether it was a State funeral or not which this expression carries, the witness stated that a certain function was arranged, a wreath was placed by the State Chief Minister but other rituals of State funeral were not followed."

Later, during the end of 1990, when the criticism of the continued inaction of the Tamil Nadu Government to check LTTE activities and on the perceived nexus between the DMK and the LTTE mounted, several allegations were raised against the DMK leadership implying connivance with the LTTE, foreknowledge of the crime and deliberate scuttling of the investigations. The Congress (I) which spearheaded the campaign for ousting DMK primarily on these grounds had their most vociferous spokespersons in Shri K. Ramamoorthy and Shri P. Chidambaram.

The allegations raised by them in the Parliament and other forums, including the allegations pertaining to Padmanabha's assassination, have been dealt with later in this chapter.

Shri M. Karunanidhi, and the DMK party, during their evidence and arguments before the Commission, have come out with counter allegations challenging the veracity of the statement of Shri R. Nagarajan given to the CJM, Trichy u/s 164(5) Cr.P.C. Aspersions have also been cast regarding the reliability of Shri R. Nagarajan as a witness. This aspect has also been dealt with in details later in this chapter.

The sequence of events relating to the investigation of the Padmanabha assassination case, as it emerges from the evidence available before the Commission, raises serious issues regarding the conduct of the State Governemnt machinery as well as the political leadership of Tamil Nadu. This was the first case where a minister of the DMK, cadres of the D.K. party and a key bureaucrat - the Home Secretary himself - were accused of being a part of the crime of assassination of K. Padmanabha and 14 other.

56.3.1 Question also arises as to what was the role of the Central Government when such a serious incident was brought to their notice.


56.3.3 Shri V.P. Singh, the then Prime Minister, deposed on this aspect at length before the Commission. Regarding the monitoring of the progress of the investigation, he stated :-

Deposition of Shri V.P.Singh on 18.11.1996.

".....we were very much concerned about the incident and I personally expressed my concern to Shri Karunanidhi......

............ a special meeting was held by the State Govt. and a special team deputed to investigate the murder.

....... Generally, I would enquire from Shri Karunanidhi as to what happened......

However, Shri V.P. Singh attempted to put forward the view that the incident was not directly related to the question of national security and was merely a manifestation of internecine warfare among Sri Lankan Tamil militants :-

"What I assessed at that time was that this was a conflict between the rival militant groups and this was something we were expecting that in case influx of refugees come, the conflict between militant groups would be imported on mainland that is whey our anxiety was for peaceful settlement between the militant groups before the de-induction. In so far before the conflict between rival militant groups, directly national security was not involved. However, any law and order problem of serious nature does have overall impact."

Shri V.P. Singh, during his deposition, was invited to comment on the information about the assailants traversing a distance of 350 Kms. by road from Madras to Thanjavur coast; The police had not erected road blocks; This crucial highway was used as an escape route; The escape was also facilitated without any obstructions from the Central Govt. agency of Coast Guards. The assailants were able to return to Sri Lanka by boats. This incident disclosed possible nexus between the State Government and the LTTE.

Shri V.P. Singh replied :-

"I would not recall action like red alert at State level....... I am sure reports must have been asked by the Home Ministry. As regards nexus between State Govt. and the LTTE interpreting the intelligence bureau report, as I have read now, I would wish to make the following comments :

Para 3 says that the car borne assailants had threatened police constables on duty. That means that police constables were there and if there was complicity at high level, constables would not have been there....... the assailants made escape on 21.6.1990...... for three days they could not make good their escape. So, road blocks or no road blocks, they did not straight drive to the sea shore..... the police party had reached the scene an hour after the offenders escaped. That means the police was in hot pursuit of the offenders and also had a fairly good idea of their movements........

Para 6 confirms what the Chief Minister expressed to me also that he issued clear instructions soon after the occurrence on the nigh of June 19, 1990. For strong action against the culprits, the report says that police was blowing hot and cold..... It is to be found out if there has been slacking at the police level, at what level it was. Para 6 states that the Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu had a meeting with senior police officials on 23.6.1990 and found fault with them.........

Para 10 states that the expectation amongst senior LTTE leaders including Prabhakaran, is that public memory is short and after a short while, the LTTE would be in a position to regain its lost grace with the DMK leadership in Tamil Nadu. That means there was loss of grace of LTTE with the DMK leadership.The next sentence says Prabhakaran deputing Natesan to meet Karunanidhi. By which it is clear there was breakdown of relationship between DMK and LTTE and the maximum that they could hope from Karunanidhi was supply of medicines and permission for treatment. That means, they had no courage to ask for arms and money. The need to seek permission for treatment means there was hindrance for treatment. This very much shows that so far the intention of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is concerned he was very clear about action to be taken in the Padmanabha case. "

The above deposition of Shri V.P. Singh gives a distinct impression that, during the period, at the level of political leadership, there was a tendency to underplay the developments in the State of Tamil Nadu; there was also a tendency to condone the inaction by ignoring crucial events and even justifying the acts of omissions; however, the same cannot be said of the intelligence agencies who were giving regular inputs about the developments of the period. The IB reports referred to earlier clearly establishes this underplaying and viewing events not dispassionately.

At this stage, as is seen from the oral evidence available before the Commission, it appears that the inaction on the part of the State Government is being justified retrospectively merely by way of interpretation of contemporaneous intelligence reports. What cannot be justified is the non performance of the entire State machinery when faced with such serious incidents of crimes committed by foreigners on Indian soil.

Links Between Padmanabha Assassination Case and Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case

56.4 Padmanabha case assumes significance for another, extremely vital reason as well. Several remarkable similarities were found between the Padmanabha case and the case relating to the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The similarities between the two cases have been summarised in a letter of the then Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu, Selvi J. Jayalalitha, written to the Prime Minister on 10th. February, 1992, (Annexure M-82) in which she had recommended that further investigation of the case be transferred to the CBI. The similarities between the two cases, as stated in the letter, are :-

"The investigation so far conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and the Tamil Nadu Special Investigation Team (TANSIT) into the Padmanabha murder case reveals that the following persons figure as the accused in both these case.

All these accused are alive.

1. Chinna Santhan

2. Vicky alias Vigneswaran

3. Ravi alias Ravichandran

4. Susindran alias Mahesh


5. Sivarasan

6. Peria Santhan

..... The aforesaid facts would establish:

1) that the Padmanabha Murder case which is being investigated by the Tamil Nadu Special Investigating Team (TANSIT) and the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case, which is being investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) are inter-connected;

2) that some of the accused in both the cases are common;

3) that some of the accused in both the cases are LTTE militants;

4) That LTTE militants have links with arms dealers in foreign countries;

5) that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in co-ordination with the IB and the RAW will be able to effectively investigate the Padmanabha murder case.

6) that it is only the investigating agencies of the Central Government that have the necessary infrastructure and facilities to unearth the conspiracy, if any, by militants of foreign origin."

Besides the above similarities, other very remarkable similarities, which were found in both the cases, pertained to the weapons and Improvised Explosive Devises (IED) used in both the cases. These similarities have been pointed out during the evidence tendered before the Commission by Shri J. Ramakrishnan, S.P.

As per his deposition, the T-56 rifle, which was recovered by SIT from Konanakunte (Bangalore) - hideout of Sivarasan , a key accused in both the cases - was found to be the same rifle which was used for the massacre of Padmanabha and others. (Ex TN 31(8)) (Annexure M-81)

Shri S. Sripall, in his affidavit no. 40/92-JCI, has also submitted that :-

Affidavit no. 40/92-JCI of S. Sripall

33. "I submit that a T.56-2 Assault Rifle was recovered by the Police from the scene of occurrence where Sivarajan had committed suicide on 20.8.1991 in Karnataka State. Expert opinion indicates that this weapon had been used in Padmanabha murder case."

Another striking similarity, which was discovered on the basis of reports of the Tamil Nadu Forensic Science (TNFSL) was that the pellets recovered from the body of Shri Rajiv Gandhi were found to be similar in size, shape and chemical composition as the pellets recovered from the scene of crime in Padmanabha assassination case. (Ex. TN 31(6)) (Annexure M-81)

56.4.1 Investigations conducted after the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi disclosed that Sivarasan - one of the key accused in both the cases - continued to move unhindered between Jaffna and Tamil Nadu even after the assassination of Padmanabha. During the period, he was actively making preparations for the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

The other common accused in the case also continued with their activities from Tamil Nadu without being detected.

One of the most important such accused was Periya Santhan of LTTE, who was based in Madras, and continued with the conspiracy for the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi after the assassination of Padmanabha. Peria Santhan had taken an active part in Padmanabha massacre. As per the deposition of the supervisory officer in Padmanabha case, Shri J. Ramakrishnan, SP, and the evidence produced by former D.G.P. Shri S. Sripall with regard to this case, the fingerprints of Peria Santhan were found on the hijacked Maruti van of Thomas Charles in which the killers of Padmanabha had made good their escape to the Vedaranyam coast.

Another hard core LTTE cadre, Dixon, who is also a common accused, remained in Tamil Nadu and helped the conspirators in several ways, including operating a wireless set of the LTTE.

Ravi @ Ravichandran, yet another common accused continued to function from Tamil Nadu and founded the Tamil National Retrieval Troops - a front organisation of the LTTE.

Sucheendran @ Mahesh - another common accused, assisted Ravi throughout. Details regarding the movements and activities of these accused in Tamil Nadu have been dealt with later in this chapter.

Similarly Vicky - another common accused in both the cases was very active throughout. As per his confessional statement given to Tamil Nadu Police under TADA on 6th November, 1991, it is seen that, after the assassination of Padmanabha, he stayed in Tamil Nadu and used to despatch hand grenades from Coimbatore to Sri Lanka.

The ramifications of the similarity of these two cases shall be dealt with in details while examinig the conspiracy angle.

Measures Initiated by the Government of Tamil Nadu after the Assassination of Padmanabha

57 The assassination of Padmanabha and 14 others and the failure of the State Government in apprehending the culprits came under sharp criticism and caused considerable political embarrassment to the DMK. Congress (I) leaders of the State, notably Kumari Anandan demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister. The Vice President of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Shri Jana Krishnamoorthy demanded a CBI enquiry into the entire gamut of activities of Sri Lankan Tamil militants in Tamil Nadu and alleged that the police inaction was the result of the support extended to the LTTE by the influential leaders of the DMK, DK and TNM. The leading political parties opposed to the DMK - the Congress (I) and AIADMK requested the Governor of Tamil Nadu to take action against the Government headed by Shri M. Karunanidhi.

57.1 Faced by such political embarrassment, the Government of Tamil Nadu initiated several measures. As it will be seen, these measures, while they appear impressive on paper, made a negligible contribution towards curbing the activities of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu.

Shri R. Nagarajan, the then Home Secretary, in his affidavit (no. 85/93-JCI) filed before the Commission has enumerated some of the steps taken by the State Government immediately after the incident. According to him, the State Government had taken a serious view of the incident and asked the Police department to explain the absence of advance intelligence. He submitted :-

vii) "...... The State Govt. had taken a more serious view about this incident and asked Police Department to explain the absence of advance intelligence in this regard ..... and also the follow up action taken to apprehend the assailants. A special meeting was held on 23.6.90 under the Chairmanship of the then Chief Secretary where the police explained at great length how the killing took place and what action had been launched after the assassination including the reasons for the less number of arrests of LTTE members."

".... The assassination of Thiru K. Padmanabha had made the State Law and Order machinery to intensify its action apprehend the LTTE cadre and neutralise their activities in total and put them in a separate camp."

"A public notice was issued in all leading Dailies both English & Tamil directing the Sri Lankan Tamils to register themselves in the nearest police station within fifteen days from the date of notice. There after series of measures were taken by the State Govt to curtail the activities of the Sri Lankan Tamil Militants and particularly LTTE."

The then Chief Secretary, T.N., Shri M.M. Rajendran, has elaborated on the steps taken immediately after the assassination of Padmanabha in his affidavit no. 126/93-JCI. He submitted :-

(Para 11)

"Two important developments followed the meetings held by the Chief Secretary on 23.6.90. One was the communication sent to the Commissioner of Police, Madras and the Deputy Inspector Generals' of Police, Chengai - Anna and Tiruchirapalli ranges pointing out the inaction on the part of the Police Officers concerned in allowing the suspected assailants to escape by road without effective road blocks and requesting them to fix responsibility on the officers who were negligent in their duty and initiate disciplinary action against them. This resulted in action being taken against a Deputy Superintendent of Police, an Inspector of Police and a Sub Inspector of Police. In another related incident, on information received by the Government regarding failure of the Police to secure certain LTTE militants found in a place called Karpagam Avenue in Mylapore, Madras, action was initiated against an Assistant Commissioner of Police."

(Para 12)

"The second important decision taken in this meeting was to issue a public notice calling upon all Sri Lankan Tamils without valid travel documents, to inform the nearest Police Station giving personal details about themselves. Similarly, owners of houses in which Sri Lankan Tamils were staying were also called upon to furnish information about their tenants to the nearby Police Station. This was done with a view to keep a watch on the large number of Sri Lankan Tamils, illegally staying in the State."

The measures taken by the State Government immediately after the Padmanabha incident can be categorised as follows :-


The Government of Tamil Nadu, on 26th. June, 1990, issued a notification in the media announcing that all unregistered Sri Lankan Tamils residing in Tamil Nadu without valid documents should furnish information regarding their names, addresses, occupation etc. to the nearest police station within seven days; the house owners, who had let out their houses to the Sri Lankan Tamils were also called upon to report the details about their tenants to the nearest police station.

It was also exhorted in the announcement that anybody having information regarding the smuggling activities, especially of the Sri Lankan Tamils, should inform the police.

With regard to the notification, deposing before the Commission, Shri Karunanidhi stated :-

(Deposition of Shri M. Karunanidhi dt 22.11.1996 (Page 13)

".... We made a Notification that all the Sri Lankans residing in T.N. should register themselves in the nearest police station. As per this Notification registration was effected and 8400 people registered themselves."


It has been stated that after the assassination, a special operation was launched for rounding up the Sri Lankan Tamil militants in the State. A large number of Sri Lankan Tamil militants were rounded up as a result of this operation.

Shri M. Karunanidhi, during his deposition before the Commission, asserted that he had issued instructions that Sri Lankan Tamil militants be rounded up, and, due to these instructions, action was taken by the State Police. He stated that :-

Deposition dated 23.11.96 of Shri. M.Karunanidhi.

"...... About 800 suspected Sri Lankan Tamils all over the State were rounded up and apprehended.....

.... I also produce clipping of the Indian Express dated 21.6.1990 reporting rounding up of 800 members of Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups marked as Ex.571."

Allegations have been raised that even in the action of rounding up Sri Lankan Tamil militants, the LTTE was given a preferential treatment. There were allegations that during the operations, very few LTTE militants were picked up whereas a large number of members of rival Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups were rounded up. An indication of this comes in the note appended in the letter of the former Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu, Selvi J. Jayalalitha, in which she had requested the Prime Minister to take up investigation of the Padmanabha case on 10th February, 1992. (Annexure M-82) The relevant portion of the note states :-

"A Special Investigation team under one IGP was formed to investigate the case further. Police also took into custody 291 Sri Lankan Tamils as a follow-up action. These included only 22 LTTE cadres and 14 others supporters of LTTE. The rest were all anti-LTTE group members and their break-up was as follows:

E.R.O.S. 3

E.P.R.L.F. 20

T.E.L.O. 49

E.N.D.L.F. 62

P.L.O.T. 45

Others 76

The arrest of a small number of LTTE was explained away stating that most of them had left for the Island to fight the Sri Lankan Government."

Evidence available before the Commission does not contain any reasons given by the Government of Tamil Nadu for such lopsided operations by the Police.


Much emphasis has been given by the witnesses who have deposed in support of the Tamil Nadu Government and DMK party on the regular Law and Order meetings held in the State by the Home Secretary and other officers. Detailed minutes of these meetings have been furnished to the Commission as evidence regarding the sincere intentions of the concerned.

Shri R. Nagarajan, during his deposition before the Commission on 17-9-96, emphasised that :-

"Regular Law and Order meetings were conducted during my period. I think I had given the list of the meetings held."

These meetings appear to have achieved little as far as the ground situation was concerned. In Annexure XIX (item no. 2) of the affidavit no. 85/93-JCI of Shri R. Nagarajan, detailed minutes of as many as 22 such law and order meetings have been furnished for the period 1.8.1990 to 20.1.1991. A perusal of the detailed minutes of these meetings reveals that the meetings were general in nature and the issue of Sri Lankan Tamil militancy was one of the agenda items which, in most instances, was found to have been discussed merely as a passing reference in these meetings. No detailed discussions find place in these meetings and, on the basis of the material supplied, it can, at best be said that the Sri Lankan Tamil militancy was just one of the several issues before the participants of the meetings and was given occasional attention.

In addition to these law and order meetings, it has been stated that Coordination Committee meetings were also regularly held between the State authorities and the Central Agencies. Shri M.M. Rajendran, in his affidavit no. 126/93-JCI, has elaborated on this :-

(Para 14)

"..... coordination meetings were held by the Chief Secretary with Navy, Coast Guard, Customs Officials and Collectors and Police Officers of Coastal districts to discuss the situation in the context of deinduction of IPKF followed by large scale influx of refugees and take steps for strengthening security measures in Coastal areas and to prevent smuggling activities by LTTE militants. Subsequently, in a meeting held on 13.2.90 at Delhi by the Union Cabinet Secretary and attended by the State Home Secretary, it was decided to set up a State Level Coordination Committee chaired by the State Home Secretary and including representatives of Navy, Coast Guard, Intelligence Bureau, Customs and Revenue Intelligence. This Committee met periodically and discussed the measures to prevent smuggling and strengthening coastal security."


Shri R. Nagarajan, in his affidavit has indicated that some steps were taken to prevent the Sri Lankan militants from entering the State. As per his affidavit (no. 85/92-JCI) :-

i) "During July 1990 the State Govt. had brought to the notice of the Central Govt. that in the wake of confrontation between the Sri Lankan Armed forces and LTTE militants in Sri lanka and also other militant groups like EPRLF, TELO, ENDLF, PLOTE who are inimical to each other, there is a possibility of their migration to Tamilnadu clandestinely with a view to set up bases here and operate. ...... which may have series of repercussions and jeopardise the peace and tranquility of the State. The State Govt has also requested the Govt. of India by furnishing the names of militants who are likely to come to India to give necessary instruction to the immigrant authorities at Madras and other sources of entry so as not to permit the militants into the country."

This measure, it appears, was another in the series of measures which appear impressive on paper, but are not open to implementation. It is not known as to how many militants were prevented from entering the country due to the implementation of the above measures. It is known that the militants would enter the country in a clandestine manner and, for obvious reasons, would not report before the immigration authorities; even when confronted by the immigration, it is highly unlikely that the militants would disclose their true identity. This measure, therefore, due to its own weaknesses, appears to be an ineffective one.


Shri R. Nagarajan, in his affidavit, has elaborated on this measure as follows :-

"ii)...... the State Govt. in July 1990 brought to the notice of the Govt. of India, the names of militant leaders who are facing threat to their lives at the hands of the LTTE and requested the Govt. of India to suggest the ways for early deportation of militants ...... "


Shri R. Nagarajan, in his deposition before the Commission, has asserted that he had detained a number of LTTE militants under the National Security Act (NSA). In his affidavit no. 85/92-JCI, he elaborated :-

"......During this period numerous arrests were made and the National Security Act was used to detain the LTTE hardcore and at the Coastal areas number of check posts were established and coastal patrolling was done all the 24 hours. Special squads were set up to monitor the militant traffic from Sri Lanka."

Records made available before the Commission by the Government of Tamil Nadu (Annexure F-a, Affidavit no. 214/94-JCI) indicate that as many as 22 LTTE cadres and four Indian sympathisers of the LTTE were detained under the NSA by the Government of Tamil Nadu during July, 1990. Three Indian LTTE sympathisers detained under the NSA were members of Tamil national Movement of P. Nedumaran and included the P.A. of Shri Nedumaran. The 22 LTTE cadres detained under N.S.A. were arrested from the districts of Salem, Tiruchy, Thanjavur and Madurai. However, regarding the detention of the LTTE cadres, the spokesmen of the LTTE, as per I.B. reports made allegations that these were actually injured cadres of LTTE undergoing treatment in India.

The above steps, as enumerated by the concerned, do not give an impression that the assassination of Padmanabha in the heart of Madras had any serious effect leading to any serious streamlining of the functioning of the State administration. Apart from some superficial measures, which, per se, did not have any perceptible impact on the situation, the State Government did little in the form of neutralising the serious threat posed by the LTTE to the law and order situation in the State.

The result of this appears to be that the credibility of the Government of Tamil Nadu plunged to a new low as far as their professed determination to control the activities of Sri Lankan militants in the State was concerned.

There are reports, during this period of active connivance of some DMK leaders with the LTTE. It has also been reported in several intelligence inputs that the LTTE was in continuous interaction with the Chief Minister, Shri Karunanidhi, primarily to ensure that their activities continue unhindered even after the Padmanabha killing. These have been dealt with later in this chapter.


58 The assassination of Padmanabha at Madras, it appears, led to a general feeling of insecurity among the people in Tamil Nadu. The State machinery was perceived to be ineffective, the political leadership of the State was perceived to be sympathetic to the cause of the LTTE, and the Central Government led by Shri V.P. Singh was perceived to be silent while the LTTE was enjoying a free run in Tamil Nadu. The activities of the LTTE, it appears were not confined to killings of rival cadres, but had a direct bearing on the law and order in the State of Tamil Nadu.

This situation appears to have caused serious apprehension in the mind of the President of India himself. The day after the massacre of Padmanabha at Madras, on 20th June, 1990, the President wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of India (Annexure M-83) expressing his grave concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Tamil Nadu due to the activities of Sri Lankan Tamil militants, particularly the LTTE.

The President of India went to the extent of suggesting the deportation of all Sri Lankan Tamils from India to control the situation. Relevant extracts of the letter are reproduced below :-

(Affidavit No.271/94-JCI (Page 25))

(Letter dt. 20-6-1990 from Shri R. Venkataraman, President of India to Shri V.P. Singh)

"You may recall that during our discussion yesterday (19-6-90), I expressed anxiety over the presence of Sri Lanka militants in Tamil Nadu and the danger they constitute to the law and order situation in the State.

Yesterday a prominent Small Scale Industrialist met me and reported that some Sri Lankan people are extorting money, Rs.500 upwards, from small industrialists under threat of dire consequence. These small people prefer to pay up rather than face reprisals by those armed militants.

The shocking incident in Kodambakkam, Madras, reinforces the growing menace of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu and the ineffectiveness of police in face of better armed militants.

I should like to reiterate my suggestion that all Sri Lankan nationals irrespective of their affiliation, LTTE, EPRLF, TELO, etc., etc., may be deported from India forthwith. Otherwise the escalation of tensions in N.E. Sri Lanka will spill over to Tamil Nadu and develop into a situation which will become uncontrollable."

The letter was replied on 13th. October, 1990 by the Prime Minister Shri V.P. Singh (Annexure M-84) who outlined the steps taken by the State Government in controlling militant activities; in the letter, Shri V.P. Singh also stated that it was impracticable to deport such a large number of refugees and stated that an alternative solution was being worked out. Shri V.P. Singh, inter alia, stated in his reply that :-

(Affidavit No.271/94-JCI) (Pages 23-24)

(Letter dt. 13-10-1990 from Shri V.P. Singh to the President)

"I share your concern about the impact of the presence of Sri Lankan militants on the law and order situation in Tamil Nadu. We are keeping a close watch over the situation and providing appropriate assistance to the State Government to cope with it. The State Government have been informed of the policy that no Sri Lankan Tamil militant of any group should be allowed to operate on our soil, and those found doing so should be kept under confinement. They have been asked to take effective steps to apprehend these militants, and such smugglers as act in concert with them, under the appropriate preventive detention laws.

The State Government have reported that 22 LTTE activists have been detained under the N.S.A. 5 suspected Sri Lankan militants have been arrested in this connection by the State Government authorities. House owners, who have rented out premises to Sri Lankan nationals, have been asked to give information to the authorities concerned.

Subsequent to the recent developments in Sri Lanka, a large number of refugees have been coming into India..... Considering the compulsions of the current situation, it might not be practicable to implement the suggestion about the deportation of all Sri Lankan nationals at this stage..."

The letter of the President of India by itself is sufficient proof of the contents thereof which eloquently speak out the situation prevailing in Tamil Nadu. It has only evoked a mild response after four months.



Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home