Ashwani Kumar, a former Director of the CBI and former Governor of Manipur and Nagaland, was found dead at his residence in Shimla late on Wednesday night. He was 69 years old.
According to Shimla Superintendent of Police Mohit Chawla, who was quoted by news agency ANI, Mr Kumar died by suicide. Sources said he had been depressed for some time.
The police have recovered a suicide note which is being verified with the family. DGP Sanjay Kundu said further inquiries were being made and that it would be inappropriate for him comment at this time.
A team of police officers, and one from Shimla’s Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, has been rushed to Mr Kumar’s home.
Over the course of a career spanning 37 years, Mr Kumar, a retired IPS officer from the Himachal Pradesh cadre, served as DGP for the state between 2006 and 2008 before being appointed Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a two-year period. He was the first police officer from the state to head the investigative agency.
He was in charge of the central agency while it investigated the infamous Aarushi Talwar murder case.
Mr Kumar, who replaced Vijay Shanker as Director after the agency had begun its probe, set up a team that contradicted the findings of the first, which ruled out the parents’ involvement. The second team said they (the parents) killed Aarushi after finding her with Hemraj.
“This case is a litmus test for me. I need to know who killed Aarushi – parents or someone else. I feel agitated within over this case,” he said at the time, according to news agency PTI.
The parents were given a life sentence by a CBI court in 2013 but acquitted by the Allahabad High Court in 2017.
Mr Kumar also served as Governor of Nagaland between 2013 and 2014; in that period he was briefly also Governor of Manipur. He is survived by his wife and son.