HM, Governor, others condole demise
JAMMU, June 21: Radha Vinod Raju, an IPS officer who unravelled the conspiracy behind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and was more recently involved in tracking foot prints of Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists David Headley, died here this morning after a prolonged illness.
62-year-old Raju, who was founder Director General of NIA, breathed his last at a private hospital here at 3.40 am, family sources said. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Raju was down with recurring pneumonia and had been admitted to hospital a week ago for lung infection, the sources said.
A 1975 batch IPS officer from Jammu and Kashmir cadre, Raju was recently appointed as Adviser to the CVC to look after banking cases.
Raju shot to fame in early 1990s when he along with D R Karthikeyan unravelled the conspiracy behind the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
A soft-spoken personality, Raju worked in a bank before joining IPS in 1975. He reached to the top and was appointed as the first Director General National Investigation Agency (NIA) on January 19, 2009, an organisation set up in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.
Before his retirement, Raju traced Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist David Headley’s foot prints in India and was also instrumental in breaking his estranged Moroccan wife Fauzia Outullah, a move that had even stumped American investigators.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed grief over the death of Raju and also conveyed condolences to his son-in-law.
State Governor, N N Vohra also condoled the death of Raju and conveyed his sympathy to members of the bereaved family.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condoled the death and said Raju was a fine officer who led a principled life during his unblemished meritorious career.
Recalling his role, Director General of State Police K Rajendra Kumar said Raju was an able police officer who always acted as a guiding light to his juniors.
Additional Director General of Police Security Ram Lubhaya has been deputed to attend the funeral of Raju at Kochi.
A condolence meeting was held in NIA today in which Director General S C Sinha lauded Raju’s service to the nation.
“He was a brilliant officer and we will miss him,” Sinha, who is Raju’s batch-mate, said.
Before being appointed as NIA Chief, Raju was the Director General (Vigilance) of Jammu and Kashmir.
Considered as one of the finest officers, Raju was also associated with the probes into hijacking of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999 and Naval war room leak case.
As head of the Vigilance Bureau in Jammu and Kashmir earlier, Raju streamlined the Department, which was in shambles due to militancy.
His investigation had brought to light the alleged misappropriation by Maulvi Ifthikar Hussain Ansari, a former Minister in Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s cabinet.
Raju had co-authored the book titled “Triumph of Trust, The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination- The Investigation”, which gave graphic details of the probe and trial of this historic case, apart from a peep into the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka.
Raju was awarded Police Medal for Meritorious Services in 1992 on the occasion of Independence Day and President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Services during Independence Day in 1999. He was recipient of Sher-e-Kashmir Medal for Meritorious Services.