What is the difference in meaning between below two sentence construction?

Sentence construction 1

a) After finishing my graduation I went to US.

b) After he left, she lifted one of the suitcases and placed it on the bed.

Sentence construction 2.

a) After I had finished my graduation I went to US.

b) After had he left, she lifted one of the suitcases and placed it on the bed.

I am more confused about below sentence.

The confession, police said, came after he had led them on a day-long wild goose chase.

When "after" is used in a sentence it is not necessary to use past perfect, because "after" makes it clear which action happened first. After I finished my graduation (first action) I went (second action) has the same meaning as after I had finished my graduation I went to the US, but the use of the past perfect looks good in written English. The same applies to "before".

He confessed to the police, after they had been chasing him all day and eventually caught him, I presume. They chased him first, then he confessed.

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