Priyanka admits meeting key convict in father’s killing

April 15th, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Tuesday confirmed that she met in prison Nalini Sriharan, one of those convicted for the assassination of her father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. “I met Nalini on March 19. It was purely a personal visit on my own initiative which must be respected,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in a statement, after a newspaper reported the meeting at the Vellore prison in Tamil Nadu.

“I do not believe in anger or violence and I refuse to let it overpower me. Meeting Nalini was my way of coming to terms with my father’s death,” she said here.

Nalini, now 43, was sentenced to death by a special court for her involvement in Gandhi’s assassination at Sriperumbudur near Chennai May 21,1991.

The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after Sonia Gandhi petitioned for clemency for the sake of Nalini’s daughter.

According to what Nalini told her lawyers, an emotional Priyanka made Nalini sit next to her and asked several questions related to the killing blamed on Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Nalini, an Indian, had accompanied the Sri Lankan woman suicide bomber who blew up Rajiv Gandhi with hidden explosives at Sriperumbudur.

Nalini, who was a close friend of an LTTE operative known as Murugan, who too is an accused in the case, later gave birth to a girl in prison.

Asked Tuesday about his sister’s meeting with Nalini, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi told reporters at the parliament complex: “Both my sister and I do not believe in violence. Her meeting with Nalini was in this context.”

Would he follow his sister’s footsteps? Rahul Gandhi replied: “I have my own way of looking at things.”

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