R. B. Sreekumar is an ex-IPS officer. He is well-known for his whistleblowing acts against the Gujarat government after the 2002 Gujarat riots, and his alleged role in framing Nambi Narayanan, an ISRO scientist.
R. B. Sreekumar was born on Wednesday, 12 February 1947 (age 75 years; as of 2022) in Ooruttambalam, Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala. According to several sources, R. B. Sreekumar holds a master’s degree in History, Gandhian Philosophy, Literature, and Law (LLM) in Criminology from Kerala University.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
R. B. Sreekumar belongs to a Malayali family.
Parents & Siblings
His grandfather, Balaramapuram G. Raman Pillai, was a freedom fighter, critic, and journalist. Not much information is available about his parents or siblings.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name is Rajalakshmi. His daughter, Deepa, is a lawyer, practising in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
R. B. Sreekumar claims to be an Ambedkarite, who has studied Hindu Scriptures in great detail as a Hindu scholar.
He resides at Plot No-193, Sreelekshmideepam, Sector-8, Gandhinagar-382008, Gujarat.
After completing his formal education in 1971, R. B. Sreekumar began to work as a lecturer at Kerala University. A few months later, in 1971, he cleared the UPSC Examinations and joined the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Telangana. He became an IPS from the Gujarat cadre.
Indian Police Service officer
After completing his training in 1972, R. B. Sreekumar was appointed as a Superintendent of Police (SP) in the Gujarat police. Throughout his service, he served as an SP in the seven districts of Gujarat. From 1979 to 1984, on deputation to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), R. B. Sreekumar served as a Commandant. From 1986 to 1987, Sreekumar, as a Deputy Inspector General (DIG), served as the Director of Security in the Gujarat Electricity Board. In 1987, he played a vital role in foiling five Kutch espionage cases. The cases were related to the infiltration of Pakistani spies in India as well as the smuggling of arms and ammunition for the militants in India, through the Kutch sector in Gujarat. This earned him an appreciation from the then Director of the Intelligence Bureau, H. A. Barari. In 1987, R. B. Sreekumar was deputed to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) as a Deputy Director. There, in 1994, his career derailed after being accused of falsely framing an espionage case against the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan. In 2000, he returned to Gujarat, where he was promoted to the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP). After his promotion, Sreekumar was made the head of the Gujarat police’s armed unit. He remained the head of the armed unit until the end of the 2002 Gujarat riots. R. B. Sreekumar, after the riots, was appointed as the Director-General of Police (DGP) in the Gujarat police’s intelligence department.
R. B. Sreekumar became one of the few high-ranking government officials who testified against the Gujarat government’s alleged role during the 2002 Gujarat riots. In 2002, Sreekumar appeared before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission, filing a total of nine affidavits against the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and his led Gujarat government. In an interview, Sreekumar claimed,
Now I am telling you about the environment at that time. All the vakeels were on the VHP side; all judges, many of the judges were also on the VHP side, right; doctors also did not treat patients because they were Muslims. In that situation what can be done? Tell me. Bail applications neglected, what can we (Home Department) … stay on … What can we say? The entire society is like that. PP (public prosecutor) again… discussion held with Law Minister.”
In 2002, in an attempt to have the elections conducted early, the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government claimed that the state authorities had successfully brought the riots under control in Gujarat. Rejecting the Gujarat government’s claim, R. B. Sreekumar submitted a report on the 2002 Gujarat riots to the Election Commission of India, asking the then Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), J. M. Lyngdoh, to postpone the state elections in Gujarat due to the sensitive situation of the state. The report, submitted by R. B. Sreekumar, stated that out of 182 constituencies in Gujarat, 154 were severely affected by the widespread riots. The Election Commission, while adhering to the recommendations made by Sreekumar, stated in its official statement,
In this environment, election campaigns evoking passions will only shatter the fragile peace unless adequate confidence-building measures are taken up in earnestness and with urgency. Foremost among these would be to arrest and punish the guilty, irrespective of their status and rank for their crimes. The Commission referred to the statement of the Additional Director-General of Police, R.B. Sreekumar, that 151 towns and 993 villages, covering 154 out of 182 Assembly constituencies in the State and 284 police stations out of 464 were affected by the riots. This evidently falsifies the claims of the other authorities that the riots were localised only in certain pockets of the State.”
Due to his whistleblowing acts, in 2005, R. B. Sreekumar was shunted and denied his promotion to the rank of Director General of Police (DGP) by the Gujarat government. In 2006, he lodged a complaint with the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). In 2008, a year after his superannuation, the CAT delivered its judgement in his favour. While giving an interview, the retired IPS said,
I filed my case in 2005 and got justice now. It is a big victory against a dispensation that is vindictive and malafide. Compared to victims of cases like Naroda Patia who are still struggling, this delay is nothing. I would request other officers to fight against this government.”
Accused of custodial violence
In 1986, R. B. Sreekumar was accused of resorting to violence on an accused in his custody. The violence resulted in the accused sustaining severe trauma, as a result of which an FIR was registered against R. B. Sreekumar. The case was closed later, and he was acquitted of all the charges.
Accused of framing the ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan
In 1994, under the direction of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Kerala police filed an FIR against Nambi Narayanan, a rocket scientist working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), for leaking highly confidential images and reports of the under-development Vikas engines to two Malaysian spies named Mariam Rasheeda and Fousiya Hassan. The FIR accused Nambi of exchanging confidential data for sexual favours from the two Malaysian spies. In 1996, following a national outrage on the issue, the Government of India handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI observed that the accusations levied against Nambi Narayanan were baseless and were missing facts. In the report filed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the location where the conspiratorial meeting took place did not tally with the actual location of the accused on the date when the meeting supposedly took place. Upon finding no conclusive evidence of the espionage, the case was dropped against Nambi Narayanan in 1998. The Supreme Court, in its judgement, asked the Kerala government to pay Rs 50 lakh in compensation to Nambi, and also ordered it to take action against the conspirators. In 2014, filing a defamation case against the Intelligence Bureau, Nambi named R. B. Sreekumar for indulging in a series of mental and physical abuse. He further accused Sreekumar of framing him, by ordering the Kerala police to lodge a false FIR against him, to satisfy his vendetta against the scientist. In an official statement, recorded by the CBI, Nambi stated,
When Sreekumar was commandant at VSSC, he had requested me to appoint his niece or nephew to a post at Thumba, but since the process was fair, she/he could not be selected. Then Sreekumar had come to my office to express his anger to which I had asked him to go out or else I would call the police. Sreekumar had said that I will regret this in the future.”
Nambi in his FIR also stated that he was forced by Sreekumar and his colleagues to give a false confession on a videotape. R. B. Sreekumar, in his defence, told the CBI that he had no direct connections with the case and that he had interrogated the two Malaysian women only for two days. R. B. Sreekumar was also accused by the former Chief of Kerala Police, Siby Mathews, of forcing him to file a false espionage case against Nambi Narayanan.
Presenting false claims against the Prime Minister
In June 2022, the Supreme Court rejected a PIL filed by R. B. Sreekumar, Teesta Setalvad (with her NGO), and Zakia Jafri. Soon after the rejection of the PIL, Sreekumar was taken into custody by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat police. Sreekumar was accused of procuring and presenting false evidence against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Supreme Court. The court also accused Sreekumar and Teesta Setalvad of playing with the sentiments of Zakia Jafri, a victim of the 2002 Gujarat riots. An FIR was registered against him under Sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save a person from punishment or property from forfeiture), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The court in its judgement stated,
At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create a sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge. The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation … As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with the law. The proceedings have been pursued for the last 16 years to keep the pot boiling, for ulterior design.”
After Sreekumar’s arrest, former ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan, said that Sreekumar had adopted the same tactics of presenting false evidence against him in court. While giving an interview, Nambi said,
I came to know that he was arrested today for keeping on fabricating stories & trying to sensationalise them, there was a charge against him. It is exactly what he did in my case. Our system is such that anybody can say any loose statement and get away with that. I’m very happy to note that he has been arrested because there is a limit for everything and he is crossing all the limits in terms of decency.”
- In 1990, R. B. Sreekumar was awarded the Medal for Meritorious Service by the Government of India.
- In 1998, R. B. Sreekumar was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Service by the Government of India.
Pension as DGP
As a DGP, R.B. Sreekumar’s pension is Rs 2,25,000 + other allowances (as of 2022).
- R. B. Sreekumar knows how to play the sitar, an Indian classical musical instrument.
- In March 2014, R. B. Sreekumar joined the Aam Aadmi Party.
- On 12 September 2017, R. B. Sreekumar wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, asking him to include the scholarly work of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar in Kerala’s educational curriculum.
- In 2017, in a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, R. B. Sreekumar demanded the Government of India should declare the Tamil classic literature, Thirukural, as the national book of India.
- R. B. Sreekumar has authored books like The Diary of a Helpless Man (2013) and Gujarat: Behind the Curtain (2016), based on the 2002 Gujarat riots. He has also published a book on the riots in Malayalam. The book is titled Gujarat: Irakalkkuvendi Oru Porattam (2008).