Former Tamil Nadu Director General of Police V.R. Lakshminarayanan, one of the most distinguished IPS officers in the country, died in the early hours of Sunday in Chennai at the age of 91. He was the brother of famed jurist Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer. A 1951 batch IPS officer, he had started his career as Assistant Superintendent of Police in Madurai.
As Joint Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), soon after the Emergency had ended, on the orders of the Morarji Desai government, Mr. Lakshminarayanan had arrested former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Mr. Lakshminarayanan’s nephew A. Ranganathan pointed out that recalling the event in his memoirs ‘ Appointments and Disappointments ’, the IPS officer had said upon going to her house, he had requested Rajiv Gandhi to urge his mother to surrender. “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,” he told Rajiv Gandhi.
After a while Indira Gandhi emerged from her room and asked, “Where are the handcuffs”. “I had served you loyally and well and got two medals from your hands for meritorious and distinguished service,” he told Indira Gandhi and added that he had since become lazy and forgotten to bring the handcuffs.
According to the late police officer’s son Suresh Lakshminarayanan, his father had graduated in Physics from Madras Christian College in 1945 and then opted for the police service as his (Lakshminarayanan’s) father and brother were into the judiciary. In 1951, he underwent police training at Mount Abu.
During his tenure he served in Nagaland as part of the Malabar Special Police. “After the Emergency period, Indira Gandhi wanted to make him Director of CBI, but MGR (former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran) wanted him back in Tamil Nadu and appointed him as Director General of Police,” he added.
Former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan, writing for The Hindu a few year ago, said it was an irony that Mr. Lakshminarayanan never rose to head the CBI despite his professional competence and integrity. “In fact, it was his unwillingness to compromise and bend while investigating corruption in the highest of places that cost him the coveted job. Eased out from his posting as Additional Director of the CBI, he was reverted to the State Police. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran had heard of his competence and absolute integrity. He lost no time making VRL (as he is affectionately known to many of his admirers) the DGP of Tamil Nadu, a job that he held with great distinction,” Mr. Raghavan wrote.
Mr. Lakshminarayanan retired in 1985 as the DGP. “He was known for his charity. When he retired his pension was more than the salary he earned during his service. He felt this was not right. Hence he donated to different causes. He even donated during the Kerala floods,” added Mr. Ranganathan.
He is survived by son Suresh Lakshminarayanan and daughters Usha Ravi and Rama Lakshminarayanan. The funeral will be held on Tuesday morning at Anna Nagar crematorium.