Sunday, January 30, 2005

INDIA: Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) 30JAN [4 News Clippings]


01. 'Babri Masjid demolition planned 10 months in advance'
02. US forces hunting Osama in NAs, says Indian intelligence
03. Frozen in Time
04 Hormis Tharakan relinquishes DGP's office


01. 'Babri Masjid demolition planned 10 months in advance'

Babri New Delhi, January 30: In a claim that tears apart the stand of Sangh Parivar, a book authored by a former top Intelligence Bureau (IB) official says that Babri Masjid demolition was planned 10 months in advance by top leaders of RSS, BJP and VHP and raises questions over the way the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, had handled the issue.

It also blames certain close aides of former Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi, for his Government's failures on various fronts, including in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, while detailing how Rashtrapati Bhavan was bugged by the PMO when Giani Zail Singh occupied it and how Rajiv paid money to ensure the electoral defeat of his Home Minister Buta Singh.

A compilation of several sensational claims by former IB Joint Director Maloy Krishna Dhar, in his book 'Open Secrets-India's Intelligence Unveiled' alleges that the Mandal agitation of 1990 was "inspired, guided and funded" by the Congress under Rajiv Gandhi to topple the Government of V P Singh.

Touching on Babri Masjid demolition, the author writes "Around February 1992, soon after the flop 'Ekta Yatra' of Murli Manohar Joshi, I was directed to arrange technical coverage of a key meeting of the BJP/Sangh Parivar. The meeting was to be attended by Lal Krishna Advani, M M Joshi, Rajju Bhaiya (then RSS chief), K S
Sudarshan, Vijaya Raje Scindia, H S Sheshadri, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharati and Champat Rai etc," the author says.

Unfazed by questions whether he was worried that the book may cause problems because he was disclosing confidential matters, Dhar told PTI "I have written it after a lot of thinking and consideration."

About possible court cases against him, he said "let's see. Now I have written it. But I don't apprehend any legal problems."

The "audio and videotape" contents of the meeting "proved beyond doubt that the high priests of hatred had helped the Sangh Parivar to adopt a strident Hindutva programme soon after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

"The Rajiv interlude had sent them to political oblivion but the lessons learnt during the JP movement and anti-Rajiv campaign had convinced the Parivar leaders that the right moment of history had arrived for the Hindu forces to make a determined bid for political power," he writes in the book.

The book says that the February meeting "proved beyond doubt that they (RSS, BJP, VHP) had drawn up the blueprint of the Hindutva assault in the coming months and choreographed the 'pralaya nritya' (dance of destruction) at Ayodhya in December 1992."

"The RSS, BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal leaders present in the meeting amply agreed to work in a well-orchestrated manner," the sleuth says.

RSS, BJP and VHP have been maintaining that the demolition was a result of impromptu action by some angry kar sevaks and that the top leadership had tried to stop them.

Pointing out that the tapes were personally handed by him to his boss, Dhar says "I have no doubt that he had shared the chilling contents with the Prime Minister (Rao) and the Home Minister (S B Chavan)."

"But the man at the helm of affairs of Indira Congress was an indecisive person. He had regained some jest for life and had started dreaming of short-circuiting the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty... He dithered. And L.K. Advani and his colleagues crossed the ramparts of history and generated passion that demolished an insignificant mosque...," he remarks.

Referring to the the December 5,1992 meeting of RSS, VHP, BJP and Shiv Sena leaders, including Advani and M M Joshi, the author says "There was silent resoluteness and agreement that Ayodhya offered a unique opportunity to take the Hindutva wave to the peak for deriving political benefit. The iron was hot and this was the time to hit."

Dhar, who outlines how he merged with the huge crowds of 'kar sevaks' pretending to be a journalist and got the proceedings shot on December 6,1992, says that vandalism was committed by activists of the Shiv Sena while Sangh Parivar leaders indulged in "irresponsible rhetoric".

"L K Advani had spat fire from the pulpit but he failed to control the flames. Taped videos substantiated that he was progenitor of the tsunami effect that he failed to control at the vital moment of destiny," says the sleuth claiming to have made a videotape and 70 still snaps.

"Much later, soon after the NDA Government assumed office in Delhi and the BJP top guns were summoned by the Liberhan Commission to depose before it, I was twice summoned by L.K. Advani," Dhar reveals.

He says Advani wanted to know details of the videotape and "demanded that I should produce it as a piece of evidence.

"I simply did not have any copy of the tape with me. The only copy was consigned to the 'archives' of the IB, somewhere outside Delhi. I gave a verbal account of the event and requested him to obtain the tape from the Director IB."

Dhar says he was unsure whether or not the Director IB "obliged" Advani. "The then Director had established a close rapport with certain officials of the PMO and I was told that he was advised by them to not produce the tape that could take Advani off the hook... Advani was still considered a powerful contender for the office of the
Prime Minister."

On the anti-Mandal agitation, the former IB official says that it was "far from a spontaneous response" against reservation for the backward castes.

"It was inspired, guided and funded by the Indira Congress and was handled by the Indira Congress trouble-shooters," he says, claiming that a large amount of money was spent on the agitation which came from the "dark chambers of the Indira Congress Party."



02. US forces hunting Osama in NAs, says Indian intelligence

NEW DELHI: Indian intelligence agencies have found the presence of American forces in Pakistan's Northern Areas, trailing Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants. Much to the discomfiture of China, the US has set up a "secret shop" in the region as part of its covert special operations against militant outfits, claim intelligence agencies here.

Intelligence sources here said that besides the US Special Force units, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has also set up "listening posts" in Northern Areas to monitor communication.

Quoting sources in India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), The Tehelka weekly paper reported that the Pentagon's Defence Intelligence Agency's satellite intercepts had given rise to "credible evidence" that some parts of Northern Areas had been infiltrated by Al Qaeda militants.

Last October, Christina Rocca, the US assistant secretary of state for South Asia, and Nancy Powell, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, had visited the Northern Areas. Since then many Americans are visiting Gilgit and Baltistan to oversee development projects funded by USAID. The US Army had also conducted military exercises in Deosai, 30 kilometres from Skardu. Earlier, the Indian and US Special Forces had conducted high-altitude wafare exercise in Ladkah, just on this side of Skardu.

Indian intelligence agencies also believe that US intelligence operatives might have "developed" Shia border traders in Balochistan as "intelligence assets". In their most covert operations in Northern Areas, the US Special Forces have also focused on local Shia groups to gather intelligence. They attribute Shia leader Aga Ziauddin Rizvi's killing to his siding with the US forces.

B Raman, the former RAW additional secretary, also maintained that the Americans had set up a chain of monitoring stations in Gilgit and Baltistan to keep track of telephones and wireless communications.These centres, he claimed, are ostensibly run by the Inter-Services Intelligence and a number of US intelligence officers are attached to them—some of them US nationals of Afghan origin.

He claimed that US's National Security Agency (NSA) had already its presence in the Northern Areas. For past many years, the NSA has been collecting signals from the space establishments of Kazakhstan and the nuclear establishments of China's Xinjiang province. The NSA uses gadgets and technologies for penetrating foreign devices and telecommunication and computer networks. "Mostly, the NSA depends on the CIA, organisations, the Voice of America and academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon for such assistance," he said. iftikhar gilani


03. Frozen in Time
Coomi Kapoor

The foreign editor of a leading financial newspaper in London met External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh this month for an interview. He was taken aback because the minister kept harking back to 1965 and the non-aligned movement rather than discussing the present regional tensions and diplomatic initiatives in the sub-continent. The minister presented a collection of essays which he had authored to the editor and personally signed the copy. The journalist was, however, puzzled to discover that Singh had inserted the date 1995 next to his name. When he asked an MEA official for an explanation he was told that his boss had actually meant 2005.

Insecure relationship

A few days before his death, J N Dixit and External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh had a heated exchange and Singh was heard remarking that MEA files would not be sent to the National Security Adviser (NSA) in future. Arguments between the two were not uncommon and usually Dixit and Singh resolved their differences amicably after giving time for tempers to cool. But because of the overlapping jurisdiction, the relationship between the NSA and the Foreign Minister is generally tense. (Remember Brajesh Mishra and Jaswant Singh?) Which is why few expect the working arrangement between the new NSA M K Narayanan and Natwar Singh to be smooth.

Already Narayanan has riled MEA officials by getting P K H Tharakan, an outsider from Narayanan's home state, appointed as RAW chief. Narayanan is also pushing for a major change in RAW's work ethic.

Treading on Patil's toes

More than Natwar Singh, Narayanan may end up treading on the toes of Home Minister Shivraj Patil. While Narayanan may be content to rely on inputs from seasoned diplomats like S K Lamba in India's negotiations with countries like Pakistan and China, he has very definite views on India's internal security issues and how to deal with terrorist outfits like the PWG and the LTTE. The NSA was at loggerheads with Patil over the truce with certain terrorist outfits and on the manner in which the Manipur agitation was handled last year. Narayanan harbours a longstanding suspicion of DMK leader M Karunanidhi for his LTTE links and, as IB director during Chandra Shekhar's tenure as Prime Minister, was largely responsible for getting the DMK government dismissed in 1991.

The uninspiring Patil's unquestioning loyalty to the Congress's first family was the reason he was made home minister. But he cannot hold a candle to Narayanan in terms of services rendered. Narayanan has provided political inputs to three generations of the Gandhis.

Pawar player

The meeting between Jayalalithaa and Sharad Pawar at 35 Poes Garden last week has set tongue wagging. It is the second time in a month and while the ostensible reason for the get-together was discussions on the tsunami relief, speculation in Chennai has it that Jaya also expressed apprehensions over the disproportionate assets case against her which is to be tried in a Bangalore court. The two politicians have been friends for over 20 years, and DMK chief M Karunanidhi is not pleased about it. Particularly since Pawar did not bother to call on him, though it is he and not Jaya who is the UPA ally.

The Congress high command is wary enough of Pawar to keep constant tabs on his movements. Two months back the IB reported to the government that Pawar, along with his lieutenant Praful Patel, attended a farm house party thrown by a leading editor at which Atal Behari Vajpayee, Chandrashekhar and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat were also present. The Congress is still trying to figure out whether the editor was simply trying to demonstrate his clout to his enemies in the BJP or there was more than meets the eye in the get-together.

J 1 and J 2, no J Lo

With two Jayas in the Samajwadi Party (SP), both of whom are actresses and MPs, some degree of confusion is inevitable. Party general secretary Amar Singh differentiates between Jaya Bhaduri and Jayapradha by addressing them as Jaya One and Jaya Two. In fact, he sometimes simply calls them J 1 and J 2, taking a cue from Jennifer Lopez's nickname, which she is now so keen to dump.

Sound Advice

The low-lying air field on Car Nicobar island was completely destroyed by the tsunami waves. Back in 1974, the then Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen J F R Jacob had in fact recommended that an air field be constructed at the southern most Great Nicobar island in order to ensure proper surveillance over the Straits of Malaca. The army had felt the need for an additional air field ever since 1971 when the American Seventh Fleet passed through the Great Channel without the knowledge of the Indian authorities.

The air strip on Car Nicobar was built by the Japanese during World War II. They were not concerned about strategic positioning as they already controlled Singapore and simply built an air strip on the flattest ground available. General Jacob's proposal for constructing a full-fledged air field on the Great Nicobar island (the small naval strip on Cambell Bay cannot be expanded because of the terrain) was put on hold by the defence ministry citing financial constraints. In retrospect, if the government had acted more speedily on the army's long pending proposal, some of the damage wreaked by the tsunami on the islands' military installations might have been averted.


04 Hormis Tharakan relinquishes DGP's office

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (UNI) Kerala's Director General of Police Hormis Tharakan today relinquished office upon his new appointment as Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Mr Tharakan, a 1968-batch IPS officer, succeeds Mr C D Sahay as the head of the country's external intelligence agency.

Earlier, he had served for 21 years with the RAW and has the experience of handling a variety of assignments ranging from Sri Lanka and Nepal to Rome. He also handled the case of hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999. He is due to retire in June.

He took over as the Chief of Kerala Police in June 2003 and gave a new face to the police force.

Talking to newspersons here, Mr Tharakan said extremist links in the flow of Rs 700 crore hawala money into Kerala could not be ruled out.The Crime Branch and Special Branch were investigating the matter and so far, the police could not establish any link.

Though Kerala was not affected by extremist activities, religious fundamentalism continued to pose a threat, he added.

The Kerala Cabinet is likely to name a successor to Mr Tharakan on Wednesday. According to informed sources, Vigilance Director Upendra Verma, Jail Superintendent M G A Raman, Transport Commissioner Raman Sreevastava and Fire Force Chief K Sukumaran Nair were among the front runners for the post. Among them, Mr Upendra Verma is the senior most.