Indian Ex-CBI Director Ashwani Kumar Found Dead in Shimla

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News Desk

Former governor and CBI chief of India Mr Ashwani Kumar was found dead in his Shimla house on 7th October; Shimla superintendent of police Mohit Chawla said. He was 69. Police suspect death by suicide but have made no formal statement.

Himachal Pradesh police chief Sanjay Kundu, who rushed to the spot, said that investigation in the case was on and a team of forensic experts has reached the crime scene and collecting evidences. Police said a note, ostensibly written by Kumar, had been found.

Ashwani Kumar had started out as a young IPS officer in Himachal Pradesh where he was, back in 1985, the superintendent of police of Shimla district. It was during this assignment that he was selected in the newly-created Special Protection Group responsible for the security of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

He was in the SPG from 1985 to 1990 in various capacities including that of Assistant Director in the Prime Minister’s Office. It was during this tenure that he came in close contact with the Gandhi family.

Retired police officer AP Singh, who succeeded Kumar at the CBI, described Kumar’s death “absolutely shocking”. “I have worked closely with him as a special director. He was a gentleman. Never lost his temper. I always found him very pleasant, soft spoken; he never ever said a word to anybody in a raised voice,” AP Singh said about his mild-mannered predecessor at the CBI.

Ashwani Kumar, a 1973 batch officer of the Indian Police Service, headed the Central Bureau of Investigation from August 2008 to November 2010. Three years later, the Manmohan Singh government appointed him as Nagaland governor in March 2013, provoking howls of protest from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kumar was the first CBI chief to be appointed to a gubernatorial office. A few months later, he was also appointed in Manipur till December 2013.

Ashwani Kumar, however, had to step down from the Nagaland Raj Bhavan weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the 2014 general elections and started pushing out governors appointed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. Kumar was one of the first to go.

It was during his tenure as the CBI chief that the investigation agency arrested Union home minister Amit Shah in July 2010 in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Shah was then the BJP general secretary and minister in the Gujarat government led by chief minister Narendra Modi. Veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram was then the Union home minister.

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