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Thread: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?

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    RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    CHENNAI: Did Priyanka Vadra recently meet Nalini Sriharan, one of those involved in the assassination of her father Rajiv Gandhi?


    A city lawyer filed an application under the Right to Information Act (RTI) last week seeking information on a purported meeting on March 19 between Priyanka and Nalini at the special prison for women in Vellore. On March 19, Priyanka was, indeed, in Vellore to pay obeisance at the Sripuram temple there.

    The RTI applicant, D Raj Kumar, has sought the prison superintendentís response to a number of queries: Under which legal provision was Priyanka permitted to meet Nalini, who accompanied her, how long did the meeting last, and what did they talk about?

    Nalini, who is 43 now, was given the death sentence by a special court for being involved in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination on May 21, 1991, in Sriperumbudur.

    She was 26 at the time of his death and 33 when sentenced.

    The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment after Sonia Gandhi pleaded for clemency for the sake of Naliniís five-year-old daughter.

    Priyanka's purported meeting now would add another chapter to an amazing story of how the Gandhi family has tried so bravely to come to terms with the tragedy of Rajiv's death.

    In itself, an RTI application is no proof of such a meeting having taken place. The Times of India , therefore, sought to verify it and reached the superintendent of the special jail where Nalini is lodged. The official refused to discuss the matter. However, Nalini's mother, who is now in Coimbatore, confirmed the meeting.

    So did Nalini's two lawyers, S Duraisamy and Elangovan, who claimed that Nalini has briefed them extensively on the meeting.

    They described the meeting as "very cordial" and spoke well of Priyanka's genuine desire to know why her father, a "good person", was killed.

    The lawyers claimed that the meeting lasted for about an hour. They said Priyanka's visit to the prison coincided with her visit to the temple. Preparations for getting the two together had started long before the purported meeting, they added.

    They said on March 11 a central intelligence official met Nalini, ostensibly in connection with her pending representations for an early release.

    However, during the meeting, the official showed Nalini a photograph of Priyanka and said, "She wants to meet you. Are you willing?" Nalini said yes. On March 18, another officer, who identified himself as Pankaj Kumar, met Nalini and told her that Priyanka would meet her the next day.

    Nalini appeared excited about the meeting. She had brought with her some South Indian sweets that she had prepared in prison for Priyanka. She was, however, denied permission to take the sweets inside the interview room where Priyanka was already waiting.

    Once Nalini entered the room, Pankaj Kumar was asked to leave the two alone.

    According to what Nalini told her lawyers, a visibly emotional Priyanka made Nalini sit next to her and asked several short questions related to the assassination. Why had it happened? For what purpose? What was Nalini's involvement?

    Nalini replied, "I didn't know anything till the end. But it is true that I went to the spot." Nalini is the sole survivor of the five-member assassination squad.

    Priyanka is quoted by the lawyers as saying, "My father was a good person. It could have been resolved through talks. Had you known about my father's good nature, you would not have done this." Nalini apparently kept quiet. Then Priyanka asked, "When did you see my father last?" Nalini said, "When he got out of his car."

    Who masterminded Rajiv's killing? asked Priyanka

    Priyanka wanted to know if Nalini had seen her father when the blast took place, to which Nalini answered in the negative. Nalini explained that she was standing a long distance away and there was a big crowd obstructing her vision.

    Priyanka then put a direct question to Nalini: who was behind the blast? Nalini said Dhanu, the human bomb who killed Rajiv, was the only person who would have known about the mastermind behind the blast. "Was the LTTE involved in it?" asked Priyanka. Nalini said she wasn't sure. Only Dhanu knew. Nalini said she still does not know from whom Dhanu took orders.

    So, why did she get involved with the killers, Priyanka is said to have asked Nalini. Nalini said she had a neglected childhood. Her family didn't care for her. She apparently told Priyanka, "I would be attracted to those who showed me affection. I didn't know what was good and what was bad. Sivarasan and the others would come to my house during weekends. That was how I got close to Murugan (one of those sentenced to death in the assassination case)."

    Priyanka wanted to know whether Murugan was a member of the LTTE. Nalini insisted that Murugan was similarly in the dark. "He did not know that Sivarasan, Dhanu and Subha would be involved in the assassination plan," she is said to have told Priyanka.

    So, why did Priyanka want to meet Nalini? Priyanka clarified to Nalini that she was not sent by anyone, and that the decision to meet Nalini was her own.

    Nalini believes that her regular letters to Sonia - wishing her a quick recovery when she was in hospital, for instance - may have generated some goodwill for her among the Gandhi family.

    Nalini claimed that Priyanka inquired about her daughter, mother and brother. She also claimed that Priyanka told her about her own family and her children. She apparently mentioned to Nalini that she preferred to personally take her children to school every day.

    Nalini has told her lawyers that Priyanka came in a green sari, and she was "very simple and loveable". "Both of us were happy about the meeting," she told her lawyers.

    As reported by A Subramani of TNN on timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 15 April 2008:
    RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?-India-The Times of India


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    Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    A needle of doubt is too conspicuous. Prinyanka may be nurturing the suspecion of involvement of an Indian hand in it. She could no more resist her temptation to probe. ...Sorry, this is not an RTI subject.

  3. #3

    Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    This is prcisely what is going to put lid on RTI-cheap publicity stunts and equally sensational yellow journalism.How does Priyanka's very private visit to the prisoner Nalini affect public well being at large?Did it lead to riots? Did she bribe any govt official to arrange this meeting?Did she trample anyone's rights?Did she use unfair means to meet the prisoner?The answer is BIG NO.She gathred tremendous moral courage to meet one of the barbarian murderers of her father and clear her soul of lingering negativity.These thought processes are beyond the mental grasp of cheap publicity-seeker rabble rousers.
    Therefore,it is imperitive to discourage these characters from derailing RTI movement,whatever it takes to stop them.
    RTI is the biggest achievement nay gift since independence,therefore,it is essential that the core purpose of RTI be decimated to all and sundry i.e;accessing/seeking information affecting public at large in order to usher in transparent,clean and polite society based on fair rules and regulations.

  4. Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?



    I think Mr. O P Sharma is unnecessarily agitated. I think RTI is meant for the purpose of making things transparent. As the meeting was not publicised, people have a right to know. And there is no better instrument than RTI. And it served the purpose.

  5. #5

    Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    Thanks Mr chowdhary,no I am not agitated ,that stage I crossed long time back.I was simply trying to gently nudge gents like you to rethink as to what is the core purpose of RTI in a broad spectrum and how to prevent possible derailing.If we continue harassing PIOs/CPIOs/SICs/CIC with loads of inconsequential questions/information,genuine victims seeking important information will suffer more delays and possibly indifferent attitude.I do humbly submit that perception as to what constitutes "freedom" differs very vastly between individuals,depending upon numerous factors.

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    Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    In the broad sense it is not the question of parting with certain iinformation alone but the RTI Act's objective is to change the mind-set of the bureaucracy. It is intended to make them realise that they are no more the Masters and they too belong to 'WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA' and not part of British Raj. Under normal circumstances they have no business to withhold any information which rest of "we the people of India" should not know. Except certain exceptions they have no secret which need concealing from rest of the Indians.

    The RTI Act will never get derailed so long as the intelligentia or the fertile minds are aware of this concept and objective of the Act. Issues like the outcry of "misuse of RTI Act", "PIO/CPIO etc getting over-loaded", "resultant delay in obtaining information by the genueine information seekers etc.", are deliberate spreading of disinformation by the vested interest to side-track the main issue to shied the corrupt bureaucrates. No one is providing the information free. An information seeker has to dish out Rs.10/- + typing and stationery expense + postage in addition to the time and effort. The PIO is not doing any favor to the information seeker.They should realise that they are "public servants". They should work like servants of public at the will and plesure of the public. I have been incurring an average of more Rs.200/- plus time and effort to persue every case upto the second appeal.In case I opt to attend the hearing add Rs.3,000/- more. Why should the PIO/AA crib ? They are not loosing anything. Hardly any of them work over-time to clear RTI cases. If the CIC/SICs do their job as envisaged in the Act, there is no doubt that corruption will be wiped out in no time. If the PIO is dead sure that whenever he deny the information he is bound to suffer the penalty there be no problem. Of cource there will be resistance from pblic servants to perform the duties of PIO. The government can defenitly come out with a proposal that successful performance of duties of PIO/AA for at least two years is an obligatory pre-condition for promtion. Things will be sorted out automatically so long as people like you me do not get discouraged with pin-pricks and contin ue to persue our efforts.

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    Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    As reported by A Subramani of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 16 April 2008:
    'RTI plea to ensure record'-India-The Times of India

    'RTI plea to ensure record'

    CHENNAI: The counsel for Nalini Sriharan, a convict in the Rajiv assassination case, decided to take the Right to Information (RTI) Act route because he did not want the Priyanka-Nalini meeting to go unrecorded.

    "There was no agenda. The intention was just to achieve some kind of authenticity. Six months or one year down the line, we may not have any material left to show such a meeting did take place," said advocate S Duraisamy.

    Now that the confirmation of meeting has come from the Gandhi scion herself, advocate S Duraisamy feels the RTI plea has served its purpose even before the prison authorities could respond to the application.

    Duraisamy and his juniors Elangovan and D Raj Kumar have no immediate plans to utilise the sentiment in Naliniís favour.

    It will not, however, prevent them from filing a new writ petition in the Madras high court seeking Naliniís early release. The petition is likely to be filed later this week. Nalini has now completed 17 years in prison, and her conduct during custody has been extremely good, her lawyers claimed.

    When contacted, prison officials said Nalini has done several computer and vocational courses in jail. She also involves herself in teaching these subjects to other jail inmates. The officials said Nalini was lodged in a single cell, which was different from her being kept in solitary confinement.

    As per the court orders, Nalini is permitted to meet her husband, Murugan alias Sriharan, for 30 minutes once in 15 days.

    Murugan, a death convict housed in the Central Prison across the road, is brought to the premises of the special prison for women for the meeting.


    Twitter: @cjkarira

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    Re: RTI query: Did Priyanka meet Rajiv's assassin last month?


    I would prefer to consider this as one of he Success Stories of RTI. But for the RTI Act the incident of Priyanka meeting Nalini would have been off the records like many incidents in the annuls of history.

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