It’s a common phenomenon in the spying business. The defection, I mean. All throughout the nations of the world, if spymasters were to sit and chat, they would agree on eliminating one head-ache. Defectors!
So why is it that every time the media mentions the word ‘defect’ for our foreign intelligence unit, the RAW develops a stiff upper lip, while the home ministry goes into a tizzy? Of course we all understand that gathering intelligence is a hush-hush business, and that the agency and the government can’t really come out in the open, claiming scandals do happen.
No, that’s not possible, and we don’t expect the government to so. But what if precious RAW agents move onto the cooler climes, with may be promises of a pretty cottage by the lakeside, and of course hefty pensions in exchange of vital information
A news report on Sunday mentioned that three RAW officers ‘willingly’ disappeared into a particular “Western country, which has a history of accepting and facilitating such disappearances of Indian intelligence officers,” while we clearly see the implication of the US.
The report, for reasons best known to the writer, mentions ambiguous terms to describe the countries, although specific names could mean no harm to the government. The report says, the three agents disappeared in the past three months, along with their families.
A day after the report, senior intelligence and home ministry officials denied any such incident has occurred, and the report is bogus. RAW, for obvious reasons, said it had no knowledge of the report.
There have been several instances when responsible RAW agents and other officials left the Indian soil on the sly. Some of them even drew salaries for as long as six months before the gap was noticed. The last big name from RAW to have defected to the US was Ravinder Singh in 2004. Singh and his wife took a flight from Kathmandu, Nepal.
While the RAW was in the know that Singh was in cahoots with the CIA, they could nothing to stop him from boarding a flight to the US with his wife. At this point, we are not quite sure whether the piece of news was disinformation, or the authorities are just lying to cover up a botched affair.
Whatever be the reason, it has now important to revamp the workings of India’s most efficient spy agency. There should be a way to track down defaulters, and get rid of them before they sell secrets to the big rogues.