There is something deeply suspicious about Ms. Priyanka Vadra'ssecret visit to Vellore on 19 March 2008 to meet Nalini Sriharan, a member of the LTTE squad that assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991.
Earlier, it was revealed that Ms. Vadra had slipped away from her security guards and flown from Delhi to Vellore for a 15-minute secret visit to the ?golden temple? at Sripuram. This in itself was suspicious, as Ms. Vadra is believed to be a non-Hindu and has no reason to visit any temple, let alone surreptitiously. Rediff now says that the Vadras wish to have their children baptized and SPG has checked out the venue of a Delhi church in this regard.
Moreover, according to regular visitors when the golden temple was being built, this project by a little-known swami was mainly financed by Canadian donors. The temple does not appear to have been constructed according to the Agamas, usually the most notable feature of South Indian temples. Normally temples have a golden kalash, but such huge amounts of gold that require round-the-clock surveillance are quite unheard of. Indian authorities may therefore do well to keep an eye on this temple.
Now, a lawyer, Mr. D Raj Kumar, filed an application under the RTI Act which brought out the bizarre fact that Ms. Vadra went to Vellore Jail and met Nalini, a member of her fathers? killer squad. This would only have been possible by moving the might of two governments – the UPA at the Centre and the DMK at State level – to ensure the secrecy and the possibility of the visit. Mr. Kumar has rightly asked under which legal provision Priyanka was allowed to meet Nalini, who accompanied her, how long the meeting lasted, and what they talked about.
Once the news had to be acknowledged, Ms. Priyanka Vadra admitted through a spokesperson that she visited Vellore on a personal visit in order to ?make peace with violence in my life.? Emissaries have revealed a sanitized version of the conversation with Nalini, wherein Priyanka is said to have asked her why she participated in the murder and the ?true conspirator? behind it.
It needs to be emphasized outright that there is need for close scrutiny of Ms. Vadra'spurported statements and behaviour. There is nothing personal here. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was not assassinated on account of personal enmity (that would be murder). He was assassinated after a well-planned conspiracy because of his decision to send the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka to exterminate the LTTE. Excellent work by the Special Investigating Team led by Mr. D. Kartikeyan exposed the LTTE role in the bomb blast, the identities of Dhanu and others, and even closed in on suspects still in hiding and forced Sivarasan to commit suicide to avoid capture. The case was also prosecuted ably in court and death penalty awarded to Murugan and others, including Nalini.
Priyanka owes an explanation why she is dissatisfied with the SIT investigation and the prosecution. What facts did she think she could personally unravel, Perry Mason style, by visiting Nalini in jail? She cannot be so na?ve as to expect Nalini to tell her more than what SIT has uncovered, so there is something unknown here.
More disturbing is the fact that Nalini, who had an affair with co-conspirator Murugan (also known as Sriharan), was allowed to marry him while in jail and cohabit (surely a rare luxury) to the extent of becoming pregnant. This saved her life, because given Indian cultural sensitivity towards mothers the system naturally commuted the death sentence of a young mother. Ms. Sonia Gandhi got undeserved publicity as an angel of mercy for asking for commutation, because in Indian law she has no locus standi to seek pardon or to pardon a convict?that is an Islamic luxury in Islamic nations. What we really need to know is: Who were Nalini'ssecret patrons who ensured her marriage and her pregnancy in jail, when men and women are supposed to be in separate sections?
Priyanka cannot now evade a personal explanation on the politics pursued by her father, which was the reason for his assassination. Does she think he was right to send the IPKF to Sri Lanka, or does she think the LTTE was right to demand a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka? If she is making peace with the past, this issue has to be resolved in her mind and made known to the country as she has used political and official connections to make contact with Nalini.
Nalini'slawyers, S Duraisamy and Elangovan, who were briefed extensively by her, have told the media that the meeting lasted for nearly an hour. That is a very long time, so more than small talk would have been exchanged. The lawyers have said there were lengthy preparations for the meeting long before it happened; Indian intelligence was in the picture.
Press reports suggest that there are moves to help Nalini get an early release from jail, where she has spent nearly 17 years. If she is released before the statutory 20 years (which provision led to the release of Gandhi assassin Gopal Godse), she may make her way to London, where her 14-year-old daughter resides with Murugan'sbrother. One does not know when Murugan'sbrother made his way to London, and the daughter afterwards (earlier she lived in Jaffna), but it does seem that international borders are remarkably porous in providing mobility to anti-India forces.
Something was clearly transacted during the Priyanka-Nalini meeting. Priyanka must answer why (as reported by the lawyers) she asked Nalini if LTTE was the mastermind behind the blast, or some other agency. Didn'tshe believe the investigating agencies and the LTTE'sown admission, made indirectly in a regret statement some years ago? Or is she party to a larger conspiracy to pin the blame on someone else? The nation has the right to know – Priyanka must not be allowed to take refuge in silence.