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I regret the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi: Nalini

Press Trust Of India
Aug 04, 2008 at 12:40am IST

New Delhi: Nalini Sriharan, serving a life term for her involvement in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, says she “regrets” the killing of the former prime minister.

In an email interview to news agency PTI, Nalini, the lone surviving member of the five-member squad behind the assassination, called Rajiv Gandhi a “great leader” and his death a “loss” to the country.

She also claimed that the real conspirators had not been brought to book “as the real killers Sivarasan, Suba and Dhanu were already dead.”

REGRET AND REPENTENCE:In an email interview, Nalini Sriharan says Rajiv Gandhi's death was a "loss" to India.

Dhanu, a suicide bomber, had carried out the attack at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on the fateful night of May 21, 1991 killing Rajiv Gandhi and 15 others on the spot. Dhanu perished in the bomb attack.

During the course of investigations, pictures clicked by S Haribabu, an LTTE photographer who was also killed in the blast, exposed the role of Nalini and others.

Arrested about a month after the assassination, Nalini was sentenced to death by hanging after being convicted on 16 counts of murder.

Nalini said in her e-mail reply through her lawyer Elangovan that her meeting with Priyanka Gandhi who had come calling to visit her in jail in March was "historical".

Elangovan, while describing the meeting of Nalini and Priyanka as "unique" added "the real reason behind the meeting is still to be revealed by Priyanka."

"The meeting is unique. There is no comparison in the world history. Priyanka and Nalini did not know each other prior to the meeting. It is unexpected for a daughter of a victim in a gruesome murder to meet an accused who had been sentenced with death penalty later on converted to sentence for life," he said.

Elangovan further said, "Whatever may me the reason (for not coming out with real reason for meeting) the courage and the generosity of Priyanka should be appreciated. The outcome of the meeting in no way helps Nalini."

Nalini, whose petition for premature release is pending, before the Madras High Court, said the Gandhi family and especially Sonia Gandhi has been kind to her. Her husband Murugan, an LTTE supporter sentenced to death for the same crime is presently lodged with her in Vellore jail in Tamil Nadu.

Nalini said that if she is ever released from jail, she does not fear for her safety and was also candid about her plans for her daughter Megara, who has turned 15, saying she wants her to be a "software engineer" when she grows up.

Megara, who was living with her grandparents in Sri Lanka, was recently given permission by Madras High Court to come to the country for further studies as it ruled that she was an Indian citizen because she was born in India.

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