A commendable role

Print edition : May 22, 1999

IN its verdict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the three-Judge Supreme Court Bench had words of praise for R.K. Raghavan, now Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for his role in solving the case. The senior Indian Police Service officer was present at the scene of the assassination. Raghavan preserved the camera found on the body of photographer Haribabu. The 10 frames of the film which had been exposed by him provided vital clues to the identity of some of the prime accused, which gave the case its first and major breakthrough.

Justice D.P. Wadhwa said: "We also have a word of praise for Mr. R.K. Raghavan, who was at the relevant time Inspector-General of Police, Forest Cell (CID), Madras, and was entrusted with the election arrangements in the Chingleput range. He was on duty at the time the crime was committed at Sriperumbudur. He immediately realised the gravity of the situation. He stayed on at the scene of the crime, organised relief and ensured that material evidence was not tampered with. It was he who found the camera (MO-1 or material object) on the body of Haribabu which provided the breakthrough in the case."

R.K. Raghavan, now CBI Director. The Supreme Court judgment has words of praise for him.-ANU PUSHKARNA

According to E. Jacob R. Daniel, Special Public Prosecutor and Deputy Legal Adviser, CBI, Raghavan saw the Chinon camera lying on the body of Haribabu around 3 a.m. on May 22 and it immediately struck him that it might contain important clues to the killing. He retrieved the camera and sent it to a laboratory through two Police Inspectors, Krishnan and Mathuram, around 5 a.m. for developing the film roll, Daniel said.

"Raghavan took charge and guarded the scene of the crime single-handedly although angry mobs were pelting stones,'' Daniel said. He faced the situation while some policemen fled the scene. But for his presence, the investigating agency would have lost vital material." Daniel, who examined Raghavan as Prosecution Witness 7 in the case in the lower court, said that he gave excellent evidence and was a "model witness". Daniel said he was proud to work under such an efficient and sincere officer.

Senior Advocate N. Natarajan, who was defence counsel for 25 of the 26 accused in the assassination, regards Raghavan highly for his presence of mind in collecting the camera, which helped in solving the case.

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