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Prabhakaran carried cyanide capsule when he met Rajiv

By A Correspondent in Delhi
Last updated on: May 20, 2009 22:00 IST
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Special Protection Group commandos had difficult time on June 1985, at 7 Race Course Road, to prevent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader V Prabhakaran from carrying his cyanide capsule, hanging round his neck when meeting then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The SPG, who never wanted to take a risk with the prime minister's security, insisted that the cyanide capsule should be removed, but Prabhakaran argued with the SPG prior to his entering the prime minister's residence.

Rajiv Gandhi was taken aback when the Intelligence Bureau and SPG officers told him about the cyanide capsule.

To solve the probelm, the SPG joined two large tables in a manner that Rajiv Gandhi sat so far away that neither Prabhakaran nor LTTE idealogue Anton Balasingham, who accompanied him, could reach the PM by extending their hands.

Five SPG commandos kept vigil as they stood next to Prabhakaran, under the guise of protecting him, but their main task  was to ensure that nothing happened to Rajiv Gandhi.

Prabhakaran was given special treatment as a state guest with 18 NSG commandos guarding him. He was lodged at the government-owned Hotel Ashok in Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, close to the prime minister's residence.

National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, who was the IB chief then, tried his best to persuade Prabhakaran to remove his capsule but did not succeed.

Sources said Prabhakaran could never have been captured alive because he always carried a cyanide capsule with him.

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A Correspondent in Delhi