When Nalini Sriharan, one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case who has completed 25 years in prison, releases her autobiography on November 24 in Chennai, it would be another addition to half-a-dozen books released on the former PM’s assassination.
Unlike the others, Nalini’s book may be crucial for the fact that it reportedly contains accounts of alleged torture by police officers at Malligai, then office of the probe team where most accused in the case were interrogated for several weeks. Two chapters of the book are reportedly dedicated to Nalini’s secret meeting with Priyanka Gandhi.
Authored in Tamil, the 600-page book will have 100 pages with forewords by leading Tamil politicians, including Vaiko, Thol Thirumavalavan and Seeman.
Nalini’s lawyer Pugazhenthi told The Indian Express that Nalini has tried to put together in the book an entire life starting from her childhood, teenage years, her meeting with Murugan — her husband and a Sri Lankan national— circumstances that made her part of a team led by Sivarasan, her life until the arrest after the assassination, arrest, birth of her daughter in prison, conviction and her 25-year-long incarceration.
“The chapter on her meeting with Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Rajiv Gandhi, is crucial. The secret meeting with Priyanka was a tense moment as she was agitated to see her father’s assassin and kept asking Nalini why he was killed. Nalini told Priyanka that she neither had a role in the conspiracy nor did she know about the murder plan,” he said, adding that it was a “highly turbulent event” for Nalini to meet Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter.
Pugazhenthi said Nalini had been working on the book for more than a year. Whenever her health deteriorated, Pugazhenthi sat with her in the visitors’ room of the prison and helped her out. “I listened to her stories and wrote them down later. Then I would take the manuscripts and she would make corrections. This has been going on for a long time,” he said.