NIA’s first chief Radha Vinod Raju passes away

published on June 21, 2012

Radha Vinod Raju, founder director general of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and a police official renowned as one of the best in India, passed away at a private hospital in Kochi at 3.40 am Thursday. He was 62.

Raju was admitted to the hospital on June 18 with lung complications and the medical oncologist who had been treating him for the past one year said his condition turned serious in the wee hours of Thursday. He is survived by wife Achamma and daughters Renu and Sindhu.

Raju, a highly respected IPS official (1975 batch) from the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, had undertaken several challenging assignments including the investigation into the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar. He had headed the special investigation team that probed the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

He had served in the CBI as its headquarters in New Delhi as joint director and additional director. The Central Vigilance Commission had last month inducted him into its board to assist the CBI in fraud cases.

Hailing from Mattanchery, Kochi, Raju earned the respect of Keralites during 1983-89 when he solved some complicated corruption and murder cases as a CBI official. He had returned to Kashmir when it was witnessing heightened militancy before becoming the founder chief of the NIA on January 19, 2009.

Born on July 27, 1949, Raju spoke English, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu and Tamil besides his mother tongue Konkani. He had served in many capacities in Jammu and Kashmir like Senior Superintendent of Police, as Deputy Inspector General and Inspector General. Among the police officials of India, Raju had been respected as an expert on terrorism and counter-insurgency.

The assignment with the SIT in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case had helped him emerge as an authority on LTTE and it was he who established beyond doubt that it was the Tamil Tigers who were behind the assassination. The Union Government had depended on him for advices on security affairs after the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike.

Raju, who had worked with a bank before joining IPS, had co-authored the book Triumph of Justice: The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination – The Investigation, along with DR Karthikeyan. Even after retirement, he had been active in strategic affairs and issues related to terrorism.

Radha Vinod Raju, with the intelligence and efficiency with which he had solved criminal cases as a CBI official, had become a role model for cops in Kerala. Script-writer SN Swamy had once said that the celebrated Mammootty-starrer “CBI” movie series had drawn their inspiration from Raju.

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