Nalini Sriharan (C), who was convicted in the assassination case of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, attends the cremation of her father Sankara Narayan in Chennai on February 24, 2016. Gandhi was killed in a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in 1991. AFP PHOTO
Nalini Sriharan (C), who was convicted in the assassination case of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, attends the cremation of her father Sankara Narayan in Chennai on February 24, 2016. Gandhi was killed in a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in 1991. AFP PHOTO

Chennai : Twenty-five years after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassination by a LTTE suicide bomb squad at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, the prime accused and life convict in the case Nalini Sriharan on Wednesday claimed she and the other convicts were innocent.

“You may believe it or not. But we were not even aware if Rajiv Gandhi was fair or dark, tall or short (until then). Our hands are not stained with anyone”s blood. We are totally innocent and have spent the last 25 years in jail. I have a daughter who is 24 and of marriageable age. Therefore I appeal to all to release us. I have placed my full faith in Amma (Jayalalithaa),” said Nalini, who out a 12-hour parole to pay her last respects to her nonagenarian father who died on Tuesday.

She told journalists that she would even appeal to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to intervene and get the life convicts (her husband and five others) released. Asked about her feelings for Congress president and Rajiv Gandhi’s widow Sonia Gandhi, she said, “I shall ever remain indebted to her.” It was Sonia Gandhi who had in 1999 recommended a remission of her death sentence to then Tamil Nadu Governor Fathima Beevi.

Nalini was brought to Chennai amidst tight police security from Vellore, 140 kms north of the State Capital, and taken back by late afternoon by road. Leaders of fringe pro-Tamil parties met her on Wednesday.

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