Interesting information has been revealed in the Indian
media about the “connection” between Foreign Affairs
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and India’s espionage and
intelligence agency the Research and Analysis Wing
According to an article written by Saikat Datta in the
prestigious Indian news magazine Outlook
the Minister’s daughter was admitted to an Indian higher
educational institution to pursue medical studies
through the efforts of RAW.
RAW got Ms. Bogollagama admission through its influence
it was unable to ensure high grades in examinations for
the ministerial off-spring and hence her dismal academic
record threatened her continuance there.
Rented out house
Bogollagama had also rented out his house in Colombo to
a RAW agent, Ravi Nair with whom the Minister quarrelled
later due to disagreement over purchasing expensive
Bogollagama allegedly “fixed” the RAW official by
framing him as having links with a Chinese spy. Ravi
Nair was recalled to India and it was only later that a
discovery was made about Bogollagama having orchestrated
the entire episode.
February this year, K.C. Verma, a 1971 batch police
officer from the Jharkhand cadre, took over as chief of
India’s external intelligence agency, Research &
Analysis Wing (RAW), and with it inherited the problems
that have plagued the organisation for years.
last year or so, RAW has seen some of the highest recall
rates of its officers from foreign postings, causing
much embarrassment. Now a few more Indian
ambassadors/high commissioners have written to the
government complaining about RAW officers posted at
their embassies/high commissions and seeking their
recall. Last year saw the return of P. Hanniman, a joint
secretary-level officer from
after allegations of financial bunglings and siphoning
of secret funds surfaced.
year there are pending requests from the Indian
ambassador to Germany, Meera Shankar, requesting that a
RAW officer, K. Jha, be recalled. A similar request has
been received from the Indian ambassador to Afghanistan.
year saw the sudden return of two RAW officers from Sri
Lanka and China. Ravi Nair returned home from Colombo
under a cloud, while Uma Mishra, a director-level
officer posted in Beijing, was recalled after
allegations of an affair between her subordinate and a
Chinese interpreter surfaced.
was accused of mishandling the entire affair as well as
compromising security with a senior visiting IB officer
accusing her of using his computer to surf the net.
Verma, these are issues he’ll have to resolve quickly.
His appointment comes after a three-year hiatus for him:
he spent it outside the Indian intelligence community
for health reasons. In between, he had bypass surgery
and had taken over as Narcotics Control Bureau chief
where he worked with P. Chidambaram, then the finance
Siphoning off secret funds
Hanniman case will now be top priority. Hanniman is
currently posted in Delhi and the inquiry against him
for siphoning off secret funds in Brussels has been
completed. Strangely enough, Hanniman seems to have
survived till now because the inquiry report was kept
pending by Gurinder Singh, a special secretary with RAW
who has been sent abroad now as special security advisor
to the government of Mauritius.
sat on the inquiry file for almost a year before sending
it back without taking any decision, days before he left
for Mauritius. RAW officers allege that Singh did it to
protect a fellow IPS officer.
Germany, differences between an IB and RAW officer have
led to the latter facing the prospect of being sent home
in the next few weeks. A similar fate awaits the RAW
officer in Kabul with the Indian ambassador there
reportedly unhappy with his performance.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time that India’s RAW
station in Germany has come under a cloud. Another IPS
cadre officer was accused of forging the letterhead of
the Pakistani ambassador to
a few years ago and passing fake letters/memos as
intelligence gathered. When detected, he was immediately
repatriated to his parent cadre state, Uttarakhand. He
is currently facing a cbi inquiry in a corruption case.
irks officers within RAW is the way these “requests” for
withdrawal are treated by the Indian government. Last
year, when Ravi Nair was pulled out of Colombo, there
were allegations of him being associated with a “Chinese
spy.” However, a subsequent inquiry revealed that the
charges were blatantly false. Instead, it came to light
that Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama had
orchestrated the whole episode.
Dismal academic performance
Apparently, Nair was Bogollagama’s tenant in Colombo and
had refused to pay for expensive furniture that the
Minister had ordered for the house. This dispute became
a full-blown crisis when Bogollagama’s daughter’s
continuance in AIIMS, Delhi, was threatened due to her
dismal academic performance. (RAW had organised her
admission but couldn’t ensure the medical degree.)
differences came out into the open, Nair was immediately
recalled, only to be proved innocent of the charges
later. A similar dispute between the RAW officer in
and his IB counterpart led to the present impasse. The
Indian ambassador, unimpressed with the quality of
reports the officer was generating, raised the issue
with the MEA, leading to the officer’s imminent recall.
Verma, these are tricky issues since a similar episode
last year led to the resignation of RAW’s China expert,
Jaidev Ranade. A career intelligence officer, he was
literally hounded out by the earlier secretary, Ashok
Chaturvedi, on grounds that Ranade had not sought
permission for his wife’s employment with the World
Bank. Embarrassed by Ranade’s resignation, the pmo
stepped in and issued orders to promote him to the post
of additional secretary even though his resignation had
has always been bogged down by experienced officers
leaving, citing harassment and nepotism. Sandip Joshi,
who had done extensive work to break up the Khalistan
movement, quit two years ago, while Vijay Tewatia, a
joint secretary, was forced to take voluntary retirement
after his wife, a doctor, took up an assignment with the
Simultaneously, RAW has failed to attract new talent. It
has recruited only six officers in the last eight years
and continues to depend on officers on deputation who
leave soon after completing a lucrative foreign posting.
This has led to a severe drought of expertise and has
left the ras cadre, raised specially to man the agency
in the 1970s, demoralised and languishing in ignominy.
names have been changed to keep identities secret)