My sins washed, says key convict in Rajiv killing

April 16th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Chennai, April 16 (IANS) Nalini Sriharan, serving a life term for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, says her sins have been “washed away” after her meeting with the slain leader’s daughter Priyanka Vadra. The March 19 meeting at the Vellore jail in Tamil Nadu where Nalini is incarcerated had “washed away her sins”, her brother P.S. Bhagyanathan told news channel CNN-IBN.

“She was very happy meeting Priyanka. She felt her sins have been washed away,” Bhagyanathan said.

“It was a surprise visit. I don’t know what they talked about. The meeting was very personal and confidential,” he added.

Vadra Tuesday confirmed that she met Nalini in prison.

“I met Nalini on March 19. It was purely a personal visit on my own initiative, which must be respected,” she said in a statement after a newspaper reported the meeting.

“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,” Vadra added.

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 Vadra 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.

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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