Coimbatore DIG’s ‘suicide’ shocks Tamil Nadu, loved ones remember him as ‘positive & kind person’

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Coimbatore range) C. Vijayakumar

Coimbatore DIG’s ‘suicide’ shocks Tamil Nadu, loved ones remember him as ‘positive & kind person’

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Police say C Vijayakumar was suffering from ‘OCD, depression’, a claim dismissed by friends & colleagues. AIADMK says his alleged suicide ‘raises suspicions’, demands CBI probe.

A positive and kind person who was passionate about police services — this is how the loved ones of C. Vijayakumar remember him.

Vijayakumar, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Coimbatore range) who allegedly died by suicide Friday at his camp office in Race Course in Coimbatore, was a 2009 batch IPS officer and had taken over as DIG in Coimbatore on 6 January.

Police sources told ThePrint that Vijayakumar returned from his morning walk around 6:45 am and asked his personal security officer (PSO) to give him his pistol. Five minutes later, he allegedly shot himself in the head.

A. Arun, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) for Law and Order (L&O), told the media in Coimbatore that Vijayakumar was suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression, and was undergoing treatment.

“I spoke to his doctor today. He had spoken to his doctor four days ago and the doctor had changed his medicines,” Arun said. The ADGP also clarified that there was no work-related or family-related issue behind Vijayakumar’s alleged suicide and that the investigation was underway. 

However, Vijayakumar’s friends and colleagues dismissed the claim that he was depressed and remembered him as someone who “gave stress to stress” and took things in his stride.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, who holds the home portfolio, in a statement Friday said, “Shocked and saddened to hear about the news of the untimely death of officer Vijayakumar. He has served well in various roles, including as District Superintendent of Police. His death is a loss for the Tamil Nadu police department. My deepest condolences to his family and friends in the police force.”

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the opposition party in the state, has demanded a CBI probe into the officer’s alleged suicide.

“Vijayakumar, who had taken his usual morning walk, bought his bodyguard’s pistol and shot himself, raising various suspicions. I urge this government to have a CBI investigation on the suicide,” AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami tweeted.

The state BJP president K. Annamalai also said that the suicide of a top police officer cannot be taken lightly.

“On behalf of the BJP, I request the Tamil Nadu government to seriously investigate and take action as to what is the background of this suicide,” he tweeted.

‘Wanted to live his life to the fullest’

Speaking to ThePrint, Senthil Kumar, Vijayakumar’s childhood friend, could not believe that the 47-year-old office was depressed or seeing a doctor.

“He was very kind, always ready to help anyone in need, and most importantly lived life with one mantra — take it easy and think about what is next,” Senthil said.

Vijayakumar, who had a degree in mechanical engineering, was passionate about joining the police force.

The 47-year-old shared his journey of becoming an IPS officer on a social media post, where he revealed that he failed his first attempt at the Group IV Tamil Nadu Public service commission (TNPSC) exam in 1999.

He then cleared the Group II TNPSC exam and joined as an audit inspector in the Hindu Religious Charitable Endowment Department in 2000.

He also cleared the Group I TNPSC exam in 2002 and became a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). But he did not stop there. He continued to appear for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams for six years, hoping to become an IPS officer.

Vijayakumar finally became an IPS officer in his seventh and last attempt at the civil services. In his Facebook post, he wrote, “In the six years I worked as DSP, I was transferred to six places, including Erode, Tiruvallur, CB-CID, Chennai Commissioner’s Office, Avadi. The reason is Civil Services Exam.”

M. Karunanidhi, a retired Superintendent of Police (SP), who knew Vijayakumar from their days as Assistant Commissioner Police (ACP) in Chennai, told ThePrint that Vijayakumar was a “soft, sensitive and helpful person.”

Karunanidhi also pointed out how Vijayakumar was affected by the treatment given to an IPS officer vs a Tamil Nadu Police Service (TPS) officer.

“There are scenarios when the TPS officers are played down. Vijayakumar kept at it and cracked IPS, even after that he remained the same person. He never flaunted his IPS rank,” Karunanidhi said.

Vijayakumar’s positivity could also be gauged from the same post he wrote after clearing the IPS exam. In it he wrote, “Don’t settle for ‘this is enough’. Keep running. Success will follow you!”

A fitness enthusiast with a gentle heart

Dr M. Ravi, a former DGP, described Vijayakumar as a “fitness enthusiast, a bodybuilder.” He said that Vijayakumar used to seek his guidance for the civil services exams when he was the Joint Commissioner of Police from 2005 to 2007. 

“Vijayakumar was a hardworking, honest, straightforward officer and was very passionate about the police force. He never got stressed and had an attitude where he will give stress to stress,” Ravi said.

In over 20 years of police service, of which 14 years as an IPS officer, Vijayakumar only wanted to focus on serving the people of Tamil Nadu. 

“After getting special permission from the chief minister, I went on one-year leave for the training, if I was not posted to Tamil Nadu, I was ready to give up the IPS posting and rejoin as DSP,” Vijayakumar said in the Facebook post.

According to his colleagues, Vijayakumar was a “welfare-oriented officer” who was very lenient with his subordinates.

“He would not give punishments or penalties, but was someone who gave his subordinates opportunities to correct themselves,” said Ravi.

During his tenure after becoming an IPS officer, Vijayakumar served as the superintendent of police in Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts, and later as Chennai’s Anna Nagar’s DCP.

The high-profile cases he has handled include the Tuticorin Sathankulam father-son custodial torture death case. He was the investigation officer in the case when he was the SP (CB-CID). Vijayakumar had led 12 special teams to investigate the case and had filed the final report (chargesheet) to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. 

He was also active during the floods in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam and his social media pages show the work he and his team had done for the rehabilitation work in the districts.

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