New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a plea for ascertaining the veracity of a telephone conversation purportedly between Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj and slain journalist Rajender Jain in January 1996, indicating a wider conspiracy behind the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan refused to entertain the plea, telling the petitioner to go to the appropriate forum, like a police station for the probe and not to treat the bench as an investigative agency.
As the bench refused to entertain the petition, former law minister Shanti Bhushan, counsel for the petitioner, withdrew the petition, while telling the court that he would go to the police station for lodging First Information Report in the matter.
But in case the police did not register the case, he would again come back to the court, said Bhushan.
The petition was fled by Ramesh Dalal, a key witness before the Justice Milap Chand Commission of Inquiry, set up to unravel the wider conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination by the Tamil Tigers in May 1991 during his poll campaign tour in Tamil Nadu.
On the report of the Jain Commission, the government subsequently constituted Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency within the Central Bureau of Investigation to unravel the wider plot behind the assassination. But it has virtually got stuck owing to a lawsuit filed by self-proclaimed spiritual guru Chandraswami before the Delhi High Court, seeking the court’s direction to scrap the Jain Commission report.
According to petitioner Dalal, journalist Jain had submitted an audio-cassette before the Justice Jain Commission, containing his telephonic conversation with Bhardwaj, suggesting there existed a deeper plot behind Gandhi’s assassination.
In a news item in a Hindi publication in July 1991, Rajender Jain suggested that Chandraswami be arrested, saying he had a hand in Gandhi’s assassination.
Soon after the publication of the news item, Jain was allegedly threatened by Chandrawswamy and later a bomb was planted in his car. Jain was eventually found dead in a mysterious manner in January 1998.
The transcript of the purported telephonic conversation between Bhardwaj and Jain quotes the law minister as complaining that former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao never promoted him despite making him do all his dirty work.
“I was the one who got Satish Sharma off on bail in a murder case in Delhi. He was given independent charges because he became a friend of Chandraswami. So, it’s best to do things with cool heads. I’ll make sure the Jain Commission is the end of Narasimha Rao. Only you support me,” Bhardwaj has been cited as telling Jain in the transcript of their conversation.
Elsewhere in the transcript, Bhardwaj has been cited telling Jain “You have to tell the Jain Commission in your testimony that Chandraswami told you that he had promised Sonia to make her the prime minister after the election and that she did not go with Rajiv on the particular tour deliberately, although she was by his side on all other tours.”
“This will appear to establish that Sonia Gandhi had a hand in the conspiracy,” Bhardwaj is quoted as telling Jain in his purported telephonic conversation with the journalist.