Former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation and now diplomat, R.K. Raghavan has had a tumultuous career—full of successes, yes, but also one where he stood at the edge of some of India’s biggest fault lines.
On 21 May 1991, in Sriperumbudur, he was in charge of Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi’s protection detail. Raghavan was only a few yards from Gandhi when the former prime minister was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It was a crushing blow to the nation, and one that left the top cop shaken to his core.
Years later, Raghavan handled investigations into the Bofors scam, the cricket match-fixing scandal and the horrific Gujarat riots of 2002—key events that came to define India’s national character. R.K. Raghavan has been not only witnessed the country’s turbulent journey, but has been right at the centre as pivotal events unfolded. In some instances, he determined their course.
An Indian Police Service officer, Raghavan went on to become director-general of Tamil Nadu’s State Vigilance Directorate and then to head the Interpol and the CBI. A Road Well Travelled chronicles his rise through the ranks of the nation’s protectors and gatekeepers—from his first posting in a small town in southern India to his sojourn at the sequestered worlds of the Intelligence Bureau and the CBI, as well as his investigations abroad. His recollections and personal insights are juxtaposed with fascinating vignettes of life in the rank and file of the Indian police and machinations in the corridors of power to reveal a nation on the move, simmering with activity at levels not always visible to other citizens.