External Affairs

Ex-CBI Director R.K. Raghavan Appointed Indian High Commissioner to Cyprus

Raghavan headed a probe that cleared Narendra Modi of involvement in the 2002 Godhra riots.

R.K. Raghavan. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief R.K. Raghavan has been picked up by the Narendra Modi government as India’s high commissioner to Cyprus, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Wednesday.

“He is expected to take up the assignment shortly,” a MEA press release said.

Raghavan, 76, who headed a probe that cleared then chief minister Modi of involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots, was the CBI director from January 1999 to April 2001.

Raghavan’s appointment is a political one as ambassadorial posts are usually meant for Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers. The BJP government has earlier appointed Mumbai police commissioner Ahmed Javed as India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

A retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, Raghavan holds a PhD in political science. His specialisation is cybersecurity.

In 2008, the Supreme Court appointed him to head the special investigation team (SIT) on Godhra riots. The SIT, in 2012, told the court that it had found no evidence of Modi’s role in the riots.

Earlier, in 2006, he was appointed as head of the anti-ragging monitoring committee by the Supreme Court. The team led by him developed India’s anti-ragging policy.

Raghavan, who set up India’s first cyber cell crime investigation cell, also oversaw probe into corruption cases against All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J. Jayalalithaa.

In 2008, he also headed the team investigating the Gulbarg Society massacre. He investigated allegations by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the Muslim-majority neighbourhood. Zakia claimed that Ehsan had sought Modi’s assistance when the mob attacked the society. However, Modi claimed that he came to know of the attack only hours after it happened.

Critics of Raghavan argue that he was responsible in playing down the evidence against Modi.

Raghavan was also in charge of probing the April 2000 match-fixing scandal. He investigated the 1996 rape and murder of law student Priyadarshini Mattoo. After retiring in 2001, Raghavan joined Tata Consultancy Services as a corporate security adviser and also served as consulting adviser to O.P. Jindal’s board of management.

  • Anjan Basu

    Rewarded for agreeing to look the other way when it mattered most? I am afraid it looks pretty much like that to me, as, I presume, it does to so many others also. Otherwise, why pick a 76 year-old former police officer as ambassador? Have the Foreign Service’s ranks been so severely depleted that it can no longer provide us with trained diplomats?

  • Anjan Basu

    May I expect the very basic civility in a discussion? Whether I agree with your views or you with mine, that has got nothing to do with my hailing from a particular state of the Indian Union and your from another. ‘Bengalibabu'( sic) may be a high witticism in your view, but there are many others who would look at it as uncivilised blabbering, nothing more, nothing less. Writing ungrammatical English is your prerogative, but calling others names is not.

  • Anjan Basu

    Thanks for reminding us that the ‘Niti’ in the Niti Ayog is an acronym! The new avatar of the Planning Commission is so utterly toothless, and its existence seems so pointless, that we stopped keeping track of it. One is reminded of the weirdest acronym of all in the world of govt institutions– the USA PATRIOT Act, 2001. The leaders in the current Indian govt — the ‘founders’ of the Niti Ayog -also have a lot of similarities with the architect of the USA PATRIOT Act, George W Bush. Sad, but true.