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R B Sreekumar: An IPS officer who put personal vendetta before law

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New Delhi, Jun 28: The Ahmedabad Crime Branch on Saturday arrested the 75 year old former Gujarat Director General of Police from his home in Gandhinagar on charges of forgery and criminal conspiracy.

A day before the arrest, the Supreme Court had questioned his role in the petition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots when he was chief minister. The court said the allegations of state's involvement in the 2002 Gujarat massacres were made with an ulterior motive.

Former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar

While he has been hailed as an honest officer by his supporters, the probe into the ISRO case tells a different picture. In the case has been accused of maligning aerospace engineer Nambi Narayanan. He is accused of fabricating evidence to settle a personal vendetta.

In 1986 there was an alleged case of custodial violence against him, but he was discharged and the issue did not become a controversy. In 1987 he was called on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau.

When the ISRO case broke out in 1994 Sreekumar was at the Bureau's Kerala station which was headed by joint director Mathew John. The Kerala police had said that two Maldivian women Mariam Rasheeda and Fousiya Hassan engaged in an operation to steal Indian missile technology. It was also alleged that the two seduced Narayanan and his deputy D Sasikumaran to obtain access to India's Vikas rocket engine apart from scores of classified documents.

The case later went to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the agency found that dates the conspiratorial meetings did not tally with the movements of the suspects. Further the CBI did not find anything to show that classified technology and documents had been stolen.

After the Supreme Court ended the investigation in 1998, Narayanan went on to win Rs 50 lakh in damages from the Kerala government. That ended Sreekumar's role in the Intelligence Bureau and he returned to Gujarat in 2001. Following the 2002 riots, he went on to file affidavits with judicial and police investigators stating that Gujarat authorities colluded in the communal riots.

Some even suggest that he may have overdone the bit to seek protection from prosecution in the ISRO case. Narayanan on his part told the CBI that Sreekumar may have acted due to personal malice after he failed to secure one of his relatives a job.
Former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan tells OneIndia that the problem is that some officers get carried away by the notion of outrage. One should always keep their impulses in check and this is particularly expected from the police as they cannot play a partition role.

What motivated him to fix Narayanan is not clear. Even if he was told to do it, he should not have done it. There may have been a possibility that the regime in Kerala may have told him to do so. He may have agreed on the Kerala assignment because he may not wanted to serve in Gujarat, Bhushan also says.

In this context let us take the case of R K Raghavan who was appointed as the SIT chief to probe into the Gujarat riots. He too was appointed when the Congress was in power. There was a perception, but he applied his mind. The other day I heard him say that he is a believer of Hanuman for whom the ultimate inspiration was Lord Ram. For him his inspiration was his dharma and he was told many things, but he did not wither, Amar Bhushan also says.

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