A very respectable intelligence sleuth of India, Radha Vinod Raju, has left the national security barracks for ever now. Severe complications in his lungs made him breathe his last early thursday at the Lake Shore Hospital, Kochi. The 62-year-old Indian Police Service (IPS) officer from the Jammu and Kashmir cadre is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Born July 27, 1949, Raju began his career in a bank before joining the IPS in 1975. He was recognised widely as an expert on terrorism and counter insurgency and as an authority on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Raju earned a name for himself when his investigations proved beyond doubt the involvement of the LTTE in the conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai in May 1991.
Considered as one of the finest intelligence officers, Raju was associated with the probes into hijacking of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999 and naval war room leak case.
Posted in the valley at the onset of armed rebellion here, Raju served as the Senior Superintendent of police of Jammu district, as Deputy Inspector General of South Kashmir Range and as Inspector General in Jammu. After his stint in the CBI, he again returned to Jammu and Kashmir before finally joining the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as its first chief.
In the years he served in the Kashmir Valley, he gained the reputation as an officer of impeccable integrity and secular credentials. In his Srinagar office he once rebuked an officer for seeking funds to increase the height of the compound wall of his residence. “This is unacceptable,” Raju is reported to have said. “We officers can’t be seen living in forts when people are asked to fight militancy.” He was instrumental in bringing to light the alleged misappropriation by Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, a former Minister in Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s cabinet, when he was the Director General of the Vigilance .
He was very proud of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and did not take kindly to the attempts, including those by the army, to run it down. “But for the Kashmir Police,” he once said, “militancy can never be controlled.” Raju also handled the sensational case of the US citizen and Lashkar-e-Toiba operative, David Headley and led a team in breaking his estranged Moroccon wife Fauzia Outullah.