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

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter I

Sections 1 to 2

1. General threat perceptions and attempts on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi | 2. Attempts made on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and preparations made to assassinate Shri Rajiv Gandhi


General threat perceptions and attempts on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi

1 Circumstances arising out of a personal tragedy necessitated the entry of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in the arena of national politics. Ensuing national events kept him constantly into national focus making him vulnerable to myriad threats from diverse hostile forces. The accidental death of his younger brother, Sanjay Gandhi, while piloting his airplane which crashed at New Delhi in June 1980 compelled Shri Rajiv Gandhi to cut short his placid career as a commercial pilot of the Indian Airlines and venture into public life. May 11th, 1981 marked the symbolic beginning of his tumultuous political career which spanned ten extremely eventful years. On the 11th May, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi became a member of Congress (I). The next month, he contested and overwhelmingly won the Lok Sabha seat in the Parliamentary Constituency of Amethi which had fallen vacant after the death of his younger brother Shri. Sanjay Gandhi. His active participation in party affairs led to his becoming the General Secretary of the Congress (I) on February 2nd, 1983.

 1.1 On the morning of 31st October, 1984, the Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi was assassinated at New Delhi. The same evening, shortly before 1900 hrs., in an exceptionally grim swearing-in ceremony at Ashoka Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India.

1.2 As the youngest Prime Minister of India, Sh Rajiv Gandhi set a hectic pace for himself and, in his anxiety to resolve the major national problems, personally involved himself into the process of formulation of solutions. Two major issues plaguing the country in 1984 were the increasingly militant Punjab problem and the persisting ethnic strife in neighbouring Sri Lanka. Simmering secessionism in the North Eastern state of Assam was another cause for anxiety.

These issues had assumed serious dimensions having secessionist overtones, suspected support by hostile foreign powers and, therefore, had a direct bearing on national security.

The efforts of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi towards bringing about an acceptable and enduring solution to them led to signing of two momentous Accords - Rajiv Longowal Accord and Indo-Sri Lankan Accord which showed a distinct possibility of achieving a peaceful solution to these problems. During the same period several rounds of talks were held with the Assamese leaders spearheading the ULFA movement. Prospects of peace brightened and this possibility alienated the militant elements amongst who perceived Shri. Rajiv Gandhi as an obstacle towards achievement of their secessionist designs. The Punjab extremists assassinated Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal in 1985, thus bringing about a serious setback to the peace process in the Punjab and necessitating a state crackdown symbolized by "Operation Black Thunder"; in Sri Lanka, the LTTE engaged the Indian Peace Keeping Force into a protracted battle jeopardising the implementation of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord. The ULFA spurned the peace efforts compelling military intervention in the troubled North-Eastern state of Assam. "Operation Rhino" was launched by the Indian Army heralding the military clampdown on Assam insurgency.

1.3 The activities of the secessionist extremist elements of Jammu & Kashmir, who had overt moral and covert military support of neighbouring Pakistan were also inimical to India in general and its Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in particular. These elements had a sizeable presence in several foreign countries and were constantly planning hostile actions against the Indian Government.

1.4 Threats to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi also emanated from hostile elements among the Islamic fundamentalists, particularly Afghan Mujahideens in whose perception, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's attitude in favouring the USSR was against their interests. These elements also were indirectly being incited by a group of Political leadership as well as Intelligence and Security agencies of Pakistan. A large number of fanatic Islamic fundamentalist groups based in Pakistan, many of which had extremist overtones, were equally inimical to him.

1.5 In this backdrop, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi became particularly vulnerable to the security threats to his life from such elements as well as the hostile powers backing them.

1.6 The prevailing conditions of the time and the zeal of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in bringing about all round peace in order to ensure that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country were not compromised at any cost, made him the most threatened Indian in recent times. The level of threat continued to increase and he became particularly vulnerable after he ceased to be the Prime Minister of India as a result of the General Elections of 1989.

Attempts made on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. And preparations made to assassinate Shri Rajiv Gandhi

2 Material placed before this Commission indicates that since 31st October 1984, the day he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India, till he died on 21st May 1991, several attempts were made on the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and, in several instances, concrete steps were taken to make preparations to assassinate him.

These attempts and preparations highlight the true dimensions of the unparalleled threats under which Shri. Rajiv Gandhi remained irrespective of the fact whether he was the Prime Minister. A study of these attempts also shows that threats came to him from organised terrorist groups as well as from hostile individuals, attempts were made on his life both in India as well as on foreign soil; there were continuous preparations being made to cause harm to him. These attempts and preparations also indicate that at even a slight opportunity, hostile elements were determined to assassinate him, such was their animosity towards him. It was this persistence of hostile extremists and the intensity of their hostility which made Shri. Rajiv Gandhi the most threatened individual of India.

2.1 As early as January 1985, barely two months after Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had taken over as the Prime Minister of India, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) learnt about some Sikh terrorists based in New York, USA, who were planning to assassinate Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, and aiming to bomb strategic locations such as nuclear power plants etc. in India as a method to overthrow the Government of India. These terrorists were looking for training to implement these plans. Three Sikh terrorists - Gurpratap S. Birk, Lal Singh and Ammand Singh - were found to be attempting to get some cadres trained initially in the USA in use of explosives and automatic weapons, chemical warfare and urban guerilla tactics. They were also looking for suppliers of C- 4 plastic explosives and machine guns to be smuggled into India.

In April 1985, the FBI discovered that the leader of this terrorist group, after attending the 'World Sikh Conference' in London, had actively started arranging for the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi during his forthcoming visit to the USA. The leader was willing to pay US $ 60,000/- for the assassination.

The FBI, on May 3, 1985, also learnt that this group was planning to assassinate Shri. Bhajan Lal who was taking medical treatment in New Orleans.

Further preparations of the terrorists to attempt the assassination were foiled when, on May 4, 1985, the FBI found six or seven Sikhs loitering in the vicinity of the Hotel at New Orleans where Bhajan Lal was staying. They arrested four Sikh terrorists while the other two - Ammand Singh and Lal Singh - escaped in a taxi. Those arrested were Gurpratap Singh Birk, Sukhvinder Singh, Virender Singh and Jasbir Singh Sandhu; the taxi driver Jatinder Singh Ahulwalia, was also arrested subsequently.

The US authorities filed two cases in this connection :-

The first case was against Gurpratap Singh Birk, Lal Singh and Ammand Singh, on charges of conspiracy to (a) possess and receive explosives and machine guns, (b) prepare and take part in military expedition and enterprise in India and (c) assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, P.M. while in the USA.

In this case, Gurpratap Singh Birk was convicted for seven years imprisonment for conspiracy to carry out military enterprise against India but acquitted on the count of conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi as the evidence was found weak. Ammand Singh, who was absconding, died in an automobile accident in Seattle, Washington (USA) on 24 March, 1988, while the third accused, Lal Singh, it was later discovered, had fled to Canada and later Pakistan, and was finally arrested in Bombay on July 16, 1992 where he had come allegedly at the behest of the ISI of Pakistan. He is facing trial in several cases in India; arrest warrant of the FBI for him in this case in still pending.

In the second case, i.e. conspiracy to assassinate Bhajan Lal, four accused were sentenced - G.S. Birk (10 years), Sukhvinder Singh (7 yrs.), Virender Singh and Jasbir Sandhu ( 5 yrs. each) while the taxi driver, J.S. Ahulwalia, was acquitted.

(Affidavit no. 345/96-JCI of Salman Haider, Foreign Secretary; Affidavit no. 162/93-JCI of S.A. Subbaiah and Affidavit no. 255/94 of Sri.V.Vaidyanathan )

2.2 In 1987, the dreaded Sikh terrorist Harjinder Singh Jinda was arrested. He was wanted in connection with the assassination of Congress(I) leader, Lalit Maken, in 1985, in New Delhi, and also in connection with the assassination of General Vaidya in 1986 Pune. During his interrogation, it came to light that, in July 1985, soon after the murder of Lalit Maken in New Delhi, Harjinder Singh Jinda had made a futile attempt to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi; however, he could not succeed, since, when the opportunity came, the presence of a crowd around the Prime Minister became a barrier between him and his target. The extracts from his interrogation report which describe this attempt are reproduced below :-

(DIB UO No 49/VS/87(3)-1821 dated 26.10.87. Digest 8/87)(Annexure T-1)

" Disclosures of Jinda

In the course of his Interrogation Harjinder Singh @ Jinda revealed that Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister, former President Giani Zail Singh and Union Home Minister Shri. Buta Singh continued to be prime targets of Khalistan Commando Force. He disclosed that in July 1985 immediately after the assassination of Lalit Maken, he had taken position outside Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital with the intention of taking a shot at the Prime Minister and the then President Giani Zail Singh anticipating that they would make the visit and thinking that the impromptu security arrangements put up on the occasion may not be tight. However, he could not take the shot because of the heavy rush which prevented a clear view of the VVIPs. He said that the KCF found the physical security arrangements for the Prime Minister and the Home Minister difficult to penetrate, and that they had decided to formulate fresh plans to make attempt on their lives on receipt of more sophisticated weapons like missiles, rocket launchers and mortars. He emphasised the efficacy of AK 47 Assault rifle and revealed that activists like Baba Dhanna Singh @ Jaspal Singh (ex head constable), Baba Ajit Singh , Rajinder Singh Bhola, Daljit Singh @ Bittu @ Satish , Gama Pahalwan @ Gursharan Singh , Charanjit Singh @ Bapu and Labh Singh may make an attempt on PM's life. He claimed that the KCF had acquired some pieces of missiles and mortars (2" and 3"). They had about 150 AK 47 Chinese assault rifles which was their main weapon of offence."

2.3 Three months after the abortive attempt by Jinda, in October, 1985, another plan to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi at London was unearthed by the British Police. Shri Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, had reached London on 14th October, 1985 for a 2 day visit to U.K.

As per available reports of the period, one month prior to his proposed visit, British Police had received information from anonymous sources that an assassination attempt was being planned during the visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to U.K. In order to unearth the conspiracy and foil any assassination attempt, the British Police launched an operation during which they sent two under cover agents to contact Jarnail Singh Ranuana, Vice President of Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Leicester.

During investigations, British Police arrested fifteen UK based Sikh activists for the offence. The mastermind behind the conspiracy was found to be Jarnail Singh Ranuana, Vice President of Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Leicester, an active member of ISYF (UK) and probably a member of the 5-member Committee formed in April 1985 to coordinate supply of arms to India. Prominent among the others arrested were Sukhwinder Singh Gill, an active member of ISYF (UK) - one of the main accomplices in the plot and Parmatma Singh Marwaha, Finance Secretary of the Executive Committee of ISYF (UK), and another co- conspirator.

The remaining twelve were detained, interrogated, and finally let off.

After completing their investigations, the British Police filed charge sheet against Jarnail Singh Ranuana, Parmatma Singh Marwaha and Sukhwinder Singh Gill. The three were charged for i) conspiracy to murder Shri Rajiv Gandhi, ii) For having solicited, encouraged, persuaded, endeavoured to persuade and proposed to two British undercover agents (posing as IRA men) to murder Shri Rajiv Gandhi, iii) Illegal possession of a firearm and iv) Supplying prohibited drugs

The prosecution case against the three accused persons Jarnail Singh Ranuana, Parmatma Singh Marwaha and Sukhwinder Singh Gill for conspiring to assassinate Shri Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to London in October, 1985 started in the Crown Court, Birmingham on October 6, 1986.

During the trial , the prosecution, inter alia, alleged that accused Jarnail Singh Ranuana gave one of the undercover agents a detailed programme of Shri Rajiv Gandhi's visit which, when checked against th

2.4 Sikh extremist elements abroad also ce official programme, was found to be correct. Ranuana had promised the undercover agents who were engaged for killing Shri Rajiv Gandhi to pay Pounds 60,000/-. The payment for the execution of the plan was to be made by means of drugs or firearms. (The undercover agents had demanded Pounds 100,000/- for the job). Ranuana had also given them a .38 revolver and 17 cartridges and promised to provide a safe house in London where they could hide after the assassination. Ranuana had initially admitted that the itinerary of Shri Rajiv Gandhi's visit was procured from a contact in the Indian High Commission.

During the trial it was established that Ranuana met Sukhwinder Singh Gill at Derby Gurudwara on Sept. 29, 1985 to discuss about the two IRA men whom he had met earlier at Park House Hotel, Leicester. Ranuana had also earlier taken Parmatma Singh Marwaha to meet these two men. Subsequently, Ranuana, Marwaha and Gill together met the two IRA men on Oct. 8, 1985 in Park House Hotel, Leicester. On Oct. 9,1985 Ranuana and Gill visited London for arranging a safe house for the assassins. They visited three addresses located at 9 Shaw House, Eridh, London, Atwal Cash and Carry, 102 Lower Road, Eridh, London and 29, Riverdale Road, Eridh, London.

Regarding Sukhwinder Singh Gill's involvement, it was brought out that he was Vice President of ISYF, Leicester Unit and was also member of National Directorate of ISYF in UK. He gave full assistance to Ranuana and accompanied Ranuana to set-up a safe house in London. They also met Karamjit Singh Chahal, a member of ISYF at Shaw House, London.

Involvement of Parmatma Singh Marwaha was established from the facts that he had raised funds for the operations from Sikh families in UK for the operation.

On December 19, 1986, after completion of the trial, Parmatma Singh Marwaha was acquitted while the other two were convicted and sentenced - Jarnail Singh Ranuana (sentenced for 16 years) and Sukhwinder Singh Gill (sentenced for 14 years)

2.5 During the same period, the British Police also unearthed two more potential plots to cause harm to Shri Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to UK in October 1985. The British Police had arrested, under Prevention of Terrorism Act, during the same period, some JKLF activists including Ahmed Choudhary Shabir (r/o 5, Devon Street, Helifax; General Secretary of JKLF), Mohammed Afzal Jatalvi @ Afzal Khan (r/o 48, Marlborough Street, Oldham; acting Chairman of JKLF) and Choudhary Mohammed Siddique (r/o 43, Oak Street, Blackburn; member of the JKLF Central Committee). They were released later. It was found that the JKLF activists had originally planned to throw a handgrenade at the motorcade of Shri Rajiv Gandhi but later abandoned the plan and concentrated on organising a series of demonstrations.

The second instance which came to the notice of the British Police, was that in which an unknown Sikh had reportedly approached a British soldier for undertaking to murder someone for a large sum of money. There was, however, no clear evidence that the target would be Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

(Illustrated Weekly of India, July 6, 1986, :- "The Men who tried to kill Rajiv Gandhi" by Pritish Nandy; Letter No. 4549/JCI/ CS (R) /97 dt. 02.07.1997) (Annexure-T-2)

2.6 On 27.09.86, the Cabinet Secretariat (R) furnished an information that an attempt was likely to be made on the life of the Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi when he goes to the Mahatma Gandhi Samadhi at Rajghat, New Delhi, on October 2nd. 1986.(Annexure T-3)

Despite this advance intelligence , an attempt on the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was actually made on the morning of October 2nd, 1986, at Rajghat where he had gone to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Concealed behind the overgrowth on a canopy located within the Rajghat precincts, a disgruntled Sikh youth, Karamjit Singh, repeatedly fired at him from a country made gun. That Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had a providential escape does not mitigate the seriousness of the attempt which could well have succeeded had the assailant not been armed with a crude, countrymade weapon which was prone to inaccuracies in aim and misfiring.

2.7 Another serious attempt, albeit equally abortive, occurred when on 30th July 1987, at the Colombo Airport, on the eve of his departure for New Delhi after signing the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi escaped a determined bid on his life as a white clad Sri Lankan Navy sailor hit him with the butt of his gun during the inspection of a guard of honour. The attempt has been described by the then Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Shri. J. N. Dixit, in his deposition before the Commission on 11th April, 1996, as follows :-

"Rajiv Gandhi was inspecting a guard of honour around 10.45 a.m. on 30th July, 1987. As he reached the last third segment of the front row of soldiers offering the Guard of Honour, one Naval rating lifted his rifle, holding the barrel in his hand and tried to hit Mr. Gandhi at the base of his neck. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was alert enough to duck the blow and took the injuries on his shoulder. Security agency officials were there on a survey and all necessary precautions were taken by them and even fool proof arrangements were made...... My information is also that the Government of India undertook an inquiry on the incident. What is the result of the inquiry, I do not know. "

The reports of the Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) into this incident indicated that the naval rating was identified as Wijaymuni Vijita Rohana. he was arrested and a case was registered against him. During the course of his interrogation, Rohana claimed that he had been highly incensed at the importance being given to LTTE leader Prabhakaran who had been responsible for killing innocent soldiers and civilians. In this context, he also held India's Prime Minister responsible for supplying weapons to the 'terrorists'.(Annexure-T-4 and T- 5)

2.7.1 After this attempt, the very next day, there was an anonymous call made at the Indian High Commission, Colombo. This has been narrated in Affidavit no. 60/92-JCI filed by Shri. J.N. Dixit, the then Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, as follows :-

(a) "On July 31, 1987 at about 1230 PM, First Secretary, High Commission of India, Colombo received an anonymous call from a male who spoke in English. The caller stated that `Nobody else in the world has hit Rajiv Gandhi in the neck so far. Next time we will kill him.' The caller then hung up the phone. This information was conveyed to the IB, R&AW and SPG."

2.7.2 However, the circumstances surrounding the attempt still remain confused. A conspiracy has been alleged by Rohan Gunaratna in his book "Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka' page 192-193.

.rm 55

"By this time, the whole of Sri Lanka was gripped by the uncertainty about what was going to happen, and secrecy surrounding the Indian Prime Minister's sudden visit. President Jayawardene, for reasons better known to him, had decided to keep the entire country in the dark as to what was happening. Everybody knew that some kind of accord was to be signed with India 'over the Tamil issue,' but nobody-not even some members of Jayawardene's own Cabinet - knew the exact nature and scope of the accord. This gave rise to a huge upsurge of anti-governmental sentiments, wild rumors and subsequent rioting in many parts of Sri Lanka. There was also considerable unrest and bewilderment among the Sri Lankan security forces...While many others around him continued to worry over an unknown and uncertain future, a few naval ratings decided to do something about it. As Rajiv Gandhi was about to depart for India, he was invited by the Commander of the Navy Anand Silva to inspect a guard of honour. Gandhi obliged. As he was moving past the men, something totally unexpected happened. Vijithamuni Rohana de Silva, a naval rating from the south, suddenly lifted his rifle and brought it on to the visiting Prime Minister of India. Neither Ananda Silva nor Gandhi's security men responded fast enough either to push Gandhi away from the sailor, or to immobilize the attacker. Fortunately, Rajiv Gandhi's quick reflexes - something which he had probably sharpened in his days as a pilot - came to his rescue; he ducked almost instantaneously, averting head injury which, in the worst case, could have killed him ; he was instead hit and badly bruised around the neck and the shoulders.

The plan within a Navy cell was to kill Rajiv Gandhi. The nineteen year old naval rating was to hit Gandhi on the head and make him fall, and then the two men on either side of the first attacker were to strike him with their ceremonial bayonets. But for some unknown reason, the other two men refrained from going into action during the assault-if they did, Gandhi could have suffered serious injuries, and could have died. The sinister plan has hitherto been kept a secret. During the court martial that followed, Vijithamuni stated that he thought that the Accord would make Prabhakaran the leader of the northeast, and he would have to honour Prabhakaran in the same way he was ordered to honour Rajiv Gandhi. However, Vijithamuni did not serve his full sentence-he was released under a general amnesty after Premadasa became the President".

If the information presented by Rohana Gunaratna is authentic, the matter calls for a deeper probe.

2.8 It was only after the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi that two abortive attempts on his life during the election campaign came to light. The Intelligence Bureau came to know about these attempts in September 1991. Two Sikh youths - Harpreet Singh Rangi ( arrested in Bangkok by the Thai Police ), and Sukhbeer Singh Khanna ( arrested on Indo-Nepal border ) were learnt to have attended two public election rallies of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi at Shahdara, New Delhi and then at Faridabad on 14th May 1991, with intentions to assassinate him; however, both these attempts to assassinate him could not succeed.

Available intelligence indicated the hand of a Sikh terrorist outfit, Khalistan National Army (KNA), behind these attempts. The KNA was formed in 1989 by Balkar Singh, alongwith Iqbal Singh Fauji @ Sham Singh Gargaj and Harjinder Singh @ Thekedar. One of the main objectives of this group was to assassinate persons held by it to be responsible for the November 1984 riots at Delhi. This group also aimed at carrying out several terrorist acts including kidnappings, killings and bomb blasts.

In the middle of May, 1991, Iqbal Singh Fauji, Deputy Chief of KNA, met some other members of the KNA at their hide-out in New Delhi, and gave instructions to assassinate Shri Rajiv Gandhi during his election campaign at Delhi. Accordingly, Harpreet Singh Rangi, Gurdev Singh Pappi, Iqbal Singh Fauji, Sarabjit Singh Sabi and Sukhbir Singh Khanna visited Ram Lila ground at Shahdara, Delhi, where Shri Rajiv Gandhi was to deliver an election speech, with the intent to make an attempt on his life with stick-bombs. While Harpreet Singh Rangi, Gurdev Singh Pappi and Iqbal Singh Fauji and Sarabjit Singh Sabi reached the venue in a Maruti car, Sukhbir Singh Khanna came to the spot on a motor cycle. The plan was that Harpeet Singh Rangi and Gurdev Singh Pappi would throw stick bombs on Shri Rajiv Gandhi and Sukhbir Singh Khanna would remain alert on the motor cycle near the venue for helping them to escape. However, when Sri Rajiv Gandhi came there and started delivering his speech, Harpreet Singh Rangi and Gurdev Singh Pappi could not gather enough courage to execute the plan. They went back to the house of Sarabjit Singh Sabi and kept their stick bombs there.

After two days, Shri Rajiv Gandhi was to address an election meeting at Faridabad ( Haryana) and the KNA decided to make another attempt there. This time, it was planned that Sukhbir Singh Khanna would carry flowers in a basket and would distribute them to the gathering near the platform before the arrival of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The idea was that when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi would arrive at the platform, people would throw these flowers at him and utilising this opportunity, Gurdev Singh Pappi and Iqbal Singh Fauji who were to mingle in the gathering would throw the stick bombs at Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Accordingly, Sukhbir Singh Khanna, Gurdev Singh Pappi and Iqbal Singh Fauji reached the venue in a Maruti car alogwith flowers in a basket. Wnen Sukhbir Singh was carrying this flower basket towards the platform, he was checked by police who asked him to throw the flowers on the path leading towards the platform. This checking by the police, discouraged them and they dropped the plan and returned to Delhi.

(JS (R) Letter No. 4278/JCI/CS(R)/97 dt June 20, 1997)( Annexure T-6)

The incident at Shahdara, New Delhi, shows that had the terrorists been determined killers, they would have succeeded in their designs. In the second incident, at Faridabad, it was the alertness of one security personnel which appears to have prevented the tragedy.

These two attempts on Shri. Rajiv Gandhi have been spoken about by Shri. K.N.Thakur, JD IB, before Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry on 02.12.1991 and Justice Jain Commission of Inquiry on 25th April 1996.

Regarding this incident, Shri. V.G. Vaidya, former Director, Intelligence Bureau has deposed before the Commission on 17th April 1996 as follows :-

"I am aware of the statements made by two terrorists, to the investigating officer, namely Harpreet Singh Rangi and Sukhvir Singh Khanna much later after their apprehension that two futile attempts were made by Sikh militants to kill Shri Rajiv Gandhi at Shahdara and Faridabad. According to the statements of these two militants, the attempts failed due to the alertness of the access control system."

In the light of the facts of the cases, this statement of Shri. V.G. Vaidya does not appear to be entirely correct. While the alertness of the security system appears to be there in the incident at Faridabad, there does not appear to be any such measure in existence in Shahdara, where the courage of the potential assassins failed them.

2.9 These disclosures are disturbing due to the fact that no advance intelligence regarding these attempts was available with any of the Intelligence Agencies and also for the reason that these disclosures bring home the point that several hostile individuals were constantly, on their own, making preparations and attempts on the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Such secret planning by stray individual hostile elements called for provision of security cover of highest possible quality, training and motivation without which determined attempts by hostile individuals could easily succeed. This aspect falls within the purview of security and has been dealt with in details at the appropriate place.

2.10 By far, however, one of the most mysterious and yet unraveled threat perception revolves around a warning given by Chairman of PLO, Yasser Arafat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. This extremely significant piece of information was received by the Intelligence Bureau on 7th June 1991 and more details in this regard were received by R&AW in September 1991 from Tunis.

(Deposition of Shri S.A. Subbaiah, dt. 14.02.1996, p. 5) The information indicated that Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) had received intelligence reports from his sources in Israel and his European sources one month before the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi that there existed threats to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from LTTE or Sikh militants who, the sources mentioned, would eliminate Shri. Gandhi during the election period. Yasser Arafat's sources also indicated that hostile powers from outside India may also attempt the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. As per information received by the intelligence agencies, Yasser Arafat had drawn the attention of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to this information. The Palestinian Ambassador in India had also spoken to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in this connection. Some enquiries to obtain specific details appear to have been made in this regard by the External Affairs Ministry with the PLO Ambassador in India, Khalid El Sheikh, but nothing worthwhile has emerged so far.

This was a prophetic threat perception directly conveyed to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi one month before his assassination and, therefore, in order to get to the bottom of the conspiracy, it is essential to conduct an enquiry into this definite indicator which discloses foreknowledge of foreign intelligence agencies regarding the event.

2.11 An important question which arises from the above is whether these apparently unrelated stray attempts at assassination were actually linked to a series of unidirectional efforts towards removal of Rajiv Gandhi ? While the above attempts have given the intelligence agencies valuable inputs to streamline the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, they have not been enquired into keeping the possibility of a continuing conspiracy in mind. This aspect shall be gone into in depth by the Commission while conducting an Inquiry into the second part of its terms of reference.



Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home