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.