Chennai: V R Lakshminarayanan, a distinguished IPS officer who had arrested former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on corruption charges in October 1977, passed away in Chennai early on Sunday. He was 91. Lakshminarayanan was the brother of famed jurist and human rights activist Justice V R Krishna Iyer, who had served as judge of the Supreme Court of India.
A 1951 batch IPS officer, Lakshminarayanan had retired as Director General of Police in Tamil Nadu during the time of former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran (MGR). Though Indira Gandhi herself, upon her return to power in 1980, was keen on making him Director of the CBI, he had missed out on the opportunity of heading the country's premier investigating agency, as MGR, keen on appointing a man of integrity as DGP, brought him back to the State cadre and gave him the top job.
In his memoirs, ''Appointments and Disappointments: My Life in The Indian Police Service'', Lakshminarayanan recalled how the Janata Party Government under Morarji Desai, which rode to power on the anti-Emergency wave in 1977, had on October 3, 1977, ordered the arrest of Indira Gandhi under the Prevent of Corruption Act.Lakshminarayanan, who was then serving in the CBI as Joint Director, was tasked with executing her arrest. Upon reaching Indira Gandhi's 12 Willingdon Crescent bungalow, he requested her son Rajiv Gandhi to request her to surrender. As mentioned in his memoirs, he reasoned: “I don't want the rude hands of a policeman to be laid on the sacred person of a lady who was a former Prime Minister and who also happens to be Nehru's daughter.”
However, when Indira Gandhi came out of her room in the evening, she raised her hands and asked “Where are the handcuffs?” Lakshminarayanan tried to diffuse the situation saying, “I had served you loyally and well and got two medals from your hands for meritorious and distinguished service,” and quipped that he had become too lazy to an extent that he forgot to carry the handcuffs. She then accompanied the CBI officers to a waiting jeep.
Lakshminarayanan's family members said that Indira Gandhi did not forget this and was keen on appointing him the Director of CBI when she returned as Prime Minister. But MGR had recalled him to the State cadre.
Lakshminarayanan was also known as a humane police officer and post-retirement he would often come out openly against third degree torture methods adopted by the police force in violation of human rights.
- Dravida Thambi