Alleged rape by President’s Bodyguard had Kalam fuming

April 24th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Then president A.P.J Abdul Kalam lost his customary cool when a constable of the President’s Bodyguard allegedly raped a girl at the Buddha Jayanti park here five years ago. “Kalam, normally so composed, was more angry that I had ever seen him, tearing at his hair that in any case was so handy and ringing me up to know what had happened,” writes P.M. Nair, his then secretary, in his book “The Kalam Effect” (HarperCollins).

Once the newspapers came out with headlines screaming rape by the Rashtrapati Bhavan staff, Nair says, Kalam turned furious.

“For once the voice (Kalam’s) was not cool at all. He was screaming. I told him that I will check and tell him what exactly had happened,” wrote Nair.

“I told the president that it was an individual’s aberration and that he should not lose any sleep over it, but I knew he would.”

The alleged rape - involving four men, not one as mentioned in the book - took place in October 2003. Four men were arrested for the crime.

Nair wrote that Kalam was particularly touchy about the “slightest slur” cast on the presidency.

“He was not able to stomach any news report that even remotely criticised Rashtrapati Bhavan. In my view, he had carried it to the extreme,” said Nair.

Kalam, he wrote, had no pretensions as president. “Actually he wouldn’t know how to go about it either.”

Kalam’s official photograph, with his signature at one corner, which is put up in government offices, had a pen sticking out from his pocket.

The book carries Nair’s impressions of the president - the man, the scientist and the head of the state, as seen from close quarters.

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