—2 former Indian PMs paid heavy prices for scrutinizing RAW’s spendings
—RAW embezzled hundreds of millions of rupees despite debacle in Kargil
From Christina Palmer
New Delhi—the financial wrong doings of Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has made Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari furious and deeply worried and forced him to call for the formation of a parliamentary standing committee to fix financial accountability of the country’s top intelligence agency, saying that such a step was necessary to ensure there was no misuse of funds by agencies such as the Research and Analysis Wing ( RAW) and Intelligence Bureau ( IB).
“To ensure accountability, there is no reason why a democratic system like ours should not have a standing committee of Parliament on intelligence that could function at least on the pattern of other standing committees,” said the Indian Vice President while speaking at the Fourth R. N. Kao Memorial Lecture here yesterday. “The contention that openness and public discussion would compromise the secrecy essential for intelligence needs to be examined carefully. Operational secrecy is one aspect of the matter and has to be maintained,” Ansari said addressing RAW officers.
“The legislature allocates funds and is therefore entitled to insist on financial and performance accountability. The practice of subsuming allocations is not conducive to transparency. It may even encourage misuse,” he said
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that Indian Vice President was alarmed by massive financial embezzlements in November 2009 when he reviewed an internal audit report about RAW’s funds, leaked to the President’s office by some dissidents at RAW’s Lodhi Road-based headquarters here in New Delhi as an acute rifts has emerged in RAW over the promotion and financial matters, dividing India’s top intelligence agency into two factions. These findings indicate that the President of Indian, upon receiving this highly sensitive document, indicating enormous financial embezzlements in RAW, deputed Vice President to hold a secret inquiry into the matter. The sources at the President’s Office revealed to this scribe that since the matter was highly sensitive and RAW enjoys a reputation of even assonating anyone who questions its might or opts for an accountability of its abuse of power or finances, the Vice President Ansari was a bit reluctant to do the job but he later agreed to go for it but with conditions of absolute secrecy. These sources say that the inquiry by the Vice President was completed in the first week of January and the findings were secretly presented to the President but nobody was ready to initiate any action against RAW bosses over the findings of the said report. These sources say that the Indian Vice President was informed by his confidante “informers” inside RAW headquarters that the smell of such an inquiry had reached to the noses of top RAW bosses, Ansari, as a precautionary measure, included the Intelligence Bureau in to the financial scrutiny process and tried to gave the inquiry a generalized touch so that the RAW headquarters shouldn’t get furious over being secretly put under a microscope for financial wrongdoings. These sources say that Vice President held personal meetings in his office with some former RAW officials including Vikram Sood and B Raman and came to the conclusion that he should speak about the RAW’s financial matters in a lighter and generalized way to avoid any direct confrontation with the bigwigs of the agency, known for intolerance in its internal matters. This makes Ansari for a best possible opportunity to convey it to RAW that he was generally scrutinizing the working and funding of all the intelligence agencies of the country and was not focussing on the matters of RAW alone and he did so by divulging over the matter at the eve of the R. N. Kao Memorial Lecture
The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that the history of RAW’s financial abuses is fairly old. These findings indicate that two former Prime Ministers of India, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, had to pay heavy prices for questioning powers and finances of RAW.
The Daily Mail’s investigations disclose that that in early 1970s, RAW fell with the late Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi over the issue of financing of the agency’s operations that went well beyond the ambits of the country’s civil law and constitution. Mrs. Gandhi, later, strongly believed that her defeat in the Indian elections of 1970 and coming in power of Murar Ji Desai was orchestrated by RAW. Therefore, when Mrs. Gandhi again took over as Indian Prime Minister in 1980s, she drastically reduced the RAW’s Special Operations’ funds and later paid a heavy price in shape of being assonated, without any prior RAW information in this direction. Similarly, when her son, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi started initiating steps to clip RAW’s wings and to reduce the agencies powers and finances and directed for formation of judicial probe into the financial and other matters of the agency, RAW got rid of him by arranging his assassination through a suicide attack by a Tamil woman, the attack, which in fact was the first ever suicide attack in South Asia, making RAW the pioneer of suicide attacks in this part of the world.
The Daily Mail’s findings further disclose that success of Pakistanr in 1999 Kargil conflict prompted questions about RAW’s efficacy at New Delhi. Some analysts saw the conflict as an intelligence failure. Though RAW officials argued they had provided the intelligence but political leadership had failed to act upon it. The Indian government constituted a committee to look into the reasons for the failure and recommend remedial measures. The report of the Kargil review committee was then examined by a group of ministers, established in 2000. The group recommended a formal written charter and pointed out lack of coordination and communication within various sections of RAW while the committee also pointed out that RAW could not prove any solid justification of spending around 9,000 million rupees during and before the Kargil conflict and recommended detailed audit of agencies funds spent during Kargil, despite it finally emerging as the biggest intelligence debacle of India’s history.