June 26, 2020
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How Nalini And Others Were Arrested

A timeline of how the accused of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination were arrested

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How Nalini And Others Were Arrested
How Nalini And Others Were Arrested
  • May 21: Nalini ­accompanies Subha, Dhanu, Sivarasan and Haribabu to Rajiv Gandhi’s election rally at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. At the venue, she sits in the women’s section and watches a light music programme while Sivarasan takes Dhanu into the VIP enclosure. Rajiv is killed in the blast set off by suicide bomber Dhanu after she garlands him. A day later, the CBI takes over the case and sets up an SIT (Special Investigation Team). A massive manhunt begins.
  • May 23: A suspect named Shankar is arrested from Thanjavur. Details from his diary lead sleuths to  the private firm where Nalini works. The police also recover the camera of Haribabu from the site, the roll yields photos of Sivarasan, Dhanu, Subha and Nalini. Through Shankar, they now know of Sivarasan’s name. Sivarasan meets Nalini.
  • May 24: Press cites the police, naming Shankar as an LTTE man, being funded by Sivarasan.
  • May 25-26: Nalini, along with Murugan, Sivarasan travel to Tirupati. Press carries pictures of Dhanu holding a garland, taken by photographer Haribabu just before the blast.
  • May 27: Evening papers also publish pictures of the kurta-pyjama-clad Sivarasan. Sleuths keep an eye on Nalini’s home as well as office. Nalini’s husband now shifts to her brother’s press where she meets him everyday after her office; buys him food before going home.
  • May 29: Haribabu’s teacher, studio owner Subha Sundaram, is ­arrested (later acquitted).
  • June 3-6: Cops interrogate Bhagyanathan, Nalini’s brother who runs a press, for three days running. 
  • June 6: Bhagyanathan is finally arrested.
  • June 7: According to CBI, Nalini, Sivarasan, Subha, Santhan and Murugan meet at the Adyar Ashtalakshmi temple.
  • June 9: Nalini’s mother, sister Kalyani, friend Bharathi and a mentally retarded uncle arrested. The cops also arrest Jayakumar, his wife Shanthi and child.
  • June 10: Robert Payas is arrested along with his family members.
  • June 11: Perarivalan surrenders in Jolarpettai.
  • June 12: Nalini’s pictures appear in the newspapers. Her husband is merely identified as ‘Das’. 
  • June 13: A recreated image of Nalini’s husband Murugan also appears in the press. A computerised image made on the basis of descriptions: since the image is fairly accurate, Nalini believes somebody close to them had helped the CBI with descriptions.
  • June 14:  Nalini and her husband are the last to be arrested in the middle of the night at Saidapet bus stop. She was two months pregnant at the time of her arrest. All those arrested were part of the 26 people who were subsequently awarded death sentence.
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