KOCHI: More than one month after the alleged suicide of CBI Additional Superintendent of Police P G Haridath, who was the investigating officer of the controversial Sampath custodial death case, the Hurt and Homicide Wing (HHW) of the state Crime Branch has decided to quiz Thiruvananthapuram CBI unit ASP Nandakumar Nair and other CBI officials.
The Crime Branch will also quiz the people whose names were mentioned in Haridath’s suicide note. They are: CBI officials K K Rajan and C Unnikrishnan Nair, advocate Sreekumar and the then Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate B Vijayan. The High Court has granted permission to question Vijayan. Meanwhile, Unnikrishnan Nair and Rajan were transferred to Kolkata and
According to highly-placed sources in the Crime Branch, the team will question around 20 officials including Nandakumar Nair at the CBI Thiruvananthapuram unit. “At the beginning of the investigation, Nandakumar Nair had supervised the CBI team, which probed the Sampath case. Grilling Haridath’s co-workers would help us find out whether there was any pressure from the higher-ups on him,” sources said. Sources in the Crime Branch said that there were a couple of issues regarding Haridath’s death that needed to be scrutinised.
While Nandakumar Nair was in charge of the Thiruvananthapuram unit, he had issued memos to Haridath in the initial stages of the investigation into the Sampath case, ‘asking him to follow the CBI manual and obey the head of the unit’. To which Haridath replied that he had to follow the directions of the Kerala High Court, and those issued by the CBI higher-ups were contradictory to the court directive. “I am only in the rank of a Deputy SP and will have to comply with the orders of the High Court of Kerala and also the directions of my superiors. Any attempt on my part to violate the orders of the Court would be contempt of Court proceedings and other strictures,” a letter by Haridath to CBI Head of Zone, New Delhi pointed out.
The High Court had earlier directed Haridath to conduct an interference-free investigation. Later, the Thiruvananthapuram CBI unit had approached the Supreme Court targeting Haridath and said that the investigating team under the orders of the CJM was blatantly defying the hierarchy of the CBI.
The then head of the Thiruvananthapuram unit had submitted that the investigation that was continuing according to the judgment was an investigation by the CJM under the direct supervision of the High Court with the assistance of five CBI officials, and it cannot be called an investigation by the CBI. Later the Supreme Court directed to appoint a joint director to supervise the team and held that investigation should be in accordance with the CBI manual.
The CBI investigation into the Sampath case got mired in controversy after the CBI team led by Haridath arraigned two senior IPS officials—DIG Vijay Sakhare and ADGP BS Muhammed Yasin—as accused in the case. He managed to get an arrest warrant against top police officials, but CBI returned the warrant to the court.
Haridath was suffering from depressive disorder and had recently started seeing a doctor in this regard. The Crime Branch has collected statements from 65 persons which include the relatives and Dr Shaju George who treated him.
The doctor revealed that he was improving at one stage and it was just a week before that the medicines were re-started.
The close friends and family members of Haridath believe that work pressure led to his death. Haridath’s brother-in-law Rajesh said: “He often said that the work was very difficult. So we suggested him to quit the job. He had been on leave for the past two weeks. He was sincere to his job.”
One of his close friends said on condition of anonymity that Haridath had told him that his superiors were putting pressure on him regarding the investigation of the Sampath murder case. Haridath felt secluded in the office. “He also told me about his plans to quit the job as he was finding it hard to survive in the CBI,” Haridath’s friend said. Haridath’s brother Venu said, “We do not know what really made him do this. As far as his job was concerned, he was very sincere.”
Haridath was the son of the late Gopalan and Nirupama in Nayarambalam, near Kochi. He had graduated in physics from SNM College, Maliankara. He had cleared the HDC examination for the bank accountant. He had also passed the railway assistant station master’s test. Before joining the Railways, the results of the CBI sub-inspector exam was announced and he preferred the job in the CBI. He was married to Nisha in 1989. His mother died six hours after the death of the her son. She was 86. Both were cremated in the compound of their house.