Nalini Sriharan – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra An Angel: Rajiv Gandhi case sentenced to NDTV

Nalini Sriharan’s release was approved by the Supreme Court this week.


Nalini Sriharan, one of six convicts in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who were released a day ago following a Supreme Court order, said on Sunday she had no role in the plot and was jailed because of her acquaintance with the friends of her husband.

When asked if she regretted her role in the murder and that of others in the bombings, she insisted she was innocent.

“I don’t really have any role at all. I know I’ve been convicted. But to my heart and to my conscience…it knows what happened,” Ms. Sriharan told NDTV in an interview.

She said she was not involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the prime minister, but was charged because she was part of the group that plotted it.

“They were my husband’s friends. So I got to know them. I’m a very reserved person. I don’t talk to them. I helped when they needed it, like going to shops or theaters or hotels or temples. I always went with them. That’s it. Other than that, I don’t have personal contact, or I don’t know their family, where they belong,” she said.

Before her death sentence was commuted in 2001, Ms. Sriharan said, she expected to be executed at any moment and prepared to be hanged seven times.

“Seven times they put up a black warrant (execution order), they waited for me,” she said.

But she fondly remembered meeting Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in prison.

“She’s a really nice person. She was an angel. And she made me respect myself because… we weren’t treated well in prison,” said Ms. Sriharan.

“We weren’t even allowed to sit in front of officers. We had to stand and talk. But when she came to meet me, she made me sit next to her. It was a completely different experience for me,” she said.

Ms. Sriharan said that Ms. Gandhi Vadra questioned her about her father’s murder when they met. She got emotional and also cried.

“She asked me about her father’s murder. She got emotional for her father. She also cried,” she said at a press conference.

Ms Sriharan also told NDTV that she reconnected with her daughter Harithra, a doctor in London, who was born to her in prison in 1992 and then grew up outside. In 2019, when she got married, Ms. Srihararan got a month’s parole to attend.

“She completely forgot about me. I was the one who gave birth to her, but I got divorced from her after two years. So after she gave her outside, she completely forgot who I am. Now we are trying to fix what happened,” said they.

“It’s a very difficult situation for me and her. We’re adults. We can understand things, but she’s very young. She couldn’t understand what happened. That’s why she’s suffering so much. So it’s very hard for my daughter,” she added.

Ms. Sriharan was sentenced to death for her role in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

The sentence was reduced to life imprisonment on the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi’s wife, Sonia Gandhi. Years later, the Supreme Court commuted the sentences of six other convicts in the case.

The decision was welcomed by many in Tamil Nadu, where their incarceration was an emotional one as many believe the seven local convicts were part of the plot without knowing its magnitude.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *