Systemic crisis in RAW and NTRO?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ejazr, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Greying Eminence
    A personnel crisis leaves espionage in the hands of a gerontocracy

    In a few weeks, the government will initiate the process of appointing the next chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. The toss-up will be between experienced officers and a lobbyist regarded as part of a clique that almost destroyed the organisation, when it was taken over, two years ago, by Ashok Chaturvedi. By all accounts, the succession battle is expected to begin soon.

    It’s not just about the top job. The agency is also in the middle of a far greater crisis: it is running out of good men. Ad-hoc appointments, faulty personnel policies, the disinclination of career officers from other departments to work with RAW on deputation—these factors have pushed RAW to its worst manpower crisis since its creation in 1968. The problem has also spread to the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), carved out of RAW in 2004 to meet India’s strategic intelligence needs for the best technology. The specialist technical group is now gasping for breath and is desperately seeking qualified personnel.

    The two organisations are responsible for gathering intelligence from across the world. However, they are turning into retirement homes that bestow handsome salaries and perks upon occupants. The important task of gathering external intelligence stands endangered.

    Take the case of D. Nath. A month ago, he began his third innings in India’s intelligence community after he was called out of retirement to deal with the emerging Kashmir crisis. Strangely enough, neither was Nath the best man RAW had on Kashmir, nor was he aware of current trends, having retired from RAW at the beginning of the decade. Nath had earlier been pulled out of retirement to head the central monitoring services of NTRO when he was in his mid-sixties. Now nearing 70 years, Nath again finds himself in the hot seat.

    He is not alone. RAW and NTRO have seen a flurry of appointments in the past few months. Amber Sen retired from RAW four years ago after he was edged out by a politically savvy colleague for the post of RAW chief. Sen was asked to go and Chaturvedi took over, and his tenure is considered one of the worst and controversial chapters in RAW’s history. Incidentally, before retirement, Sen was handling the operations desk, considered the most prestigious assignment and generally going to the most competent of officers.

    But the then National Security Advisor (NSA) offered Sen a sop by hiring him as the “strategic intelligence advisor” in the Prime Minister’s Office. After a two-year stint, Sen retired a second time. Again, early this year, RAW sought out his services. He is working when he should be settled deep in the joys of comfortable retirement like other bureaucrats his age.

    Sen’s third stint is understandable, given his competence. But RAW has even refused to let go of officers from its “ministerial” cadre, the administrative wing in charge of paperwork and file-keeping that is unrelated to intelligence in any way. P.K. Mathur is an administrative officer who has never served in any intelligence-related capacity. However, as a “farewell gift”, Mathur was sent as a first secretary in the Indian embassy in a Southeast Asian country before he retired. This is a post usually reserved for senior operational RAW but Mathur got to keep it for two years. This caused RAW some embarrassment with its foreign service counterparts. He would have then retired but for a brand new “favour”: his services were extended as he was found to the best man, one who knew all “the rules and regulations and the administrative set-up of RAW”. He continues to serve and enjoy all perquisites.

    Ironically, RAW’s present crisis is the legacy of two men, Chaturvedi and his deputy Sanjiv Tripathi, who served as as the additional secretary (personnel) and then as the head of its technical wing known as the Aviation Research Centre (ARC). Tripathi is back in contention as the new RAW chief if the current chief, K.C. Verma, chooses to retire a month before the actual date of his retirement. During Chaturvedi and Tripathi’s run in RAW, the organisation was hit by several controversies, resignations and security lapses, causing embarrassment to the government.

    It was also during this period (2007-09) that some of RAW’s finest officers quit. While Sen retired from service, Chaturvedi’s attempts to promote Tripathi led to R. Banerji, an expert on Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism, leaving. Chaturvedi also ensured that its China expert, P.V. Kumar, would be sidelined. Two other senior officers, Jayadeva Ranade and Ravi Nair, put in their papers under controversial circumstances. RAW was without experts in the two countries that matter the most, Pakistan and China. The exodus at the top ensured that officers from other departments began to cry off any offers of deputation in the intelligence agency. Now, ad-hoc extensions to non-essential personnel like Mathur are ensuring that the last vestige of professionalism is corroded away.

    The NTRO hasn’t fared any better. Last week, unable to find a suitable officer to replace its chairman, K.V.S.S. Prasad Rao, the government decided to continue with “acting chairman” P.V. Kumar, who had lost out in RAW when Chaturvedi made allegations of corruption against him in a case related to the procurement of interception equipment. This was cited by Union home minister P. Chidambaram, who felt that a person found “unfit” to head RAW could not be posted as the head of another intelligence agency. However, Kumar was brought out of retirement to first serve as “advisor”, and now “acting chairman”, of NTRO till he retires for the second time a few months later. NTRO has seen its share of pensioners. Ramesh Kumar, an HRD manager from DRDO, was brought back when he was nearing 70. S.S. Moorthy, a little over 70 and with a work background in DRDO laboratories, was also brought in.

    “The rot in these organisations is too difficult to correct,” a senior intelligence official told Outlook. “Even if the questionable appointments were to be brought to the notice of the nsa or the prime minister, there is little that they can do. These organisations are now run as personal fiefdoms with no accountability or oversight. Even if they do want to do something, the systemic problems will never be addressed.”

    A case in point is the much-delayed inquiry report and the pending cag investigation into NTRO’s financial and administrative illegalities. Unless the government acts swiftly and with specific intent, the systemic rot in the intelligence apparatus will be difficult to set right. Meanwhile, one can simply watch sensitive and strategic outfits turning into retirement homes meant for the rehabilitation of favourites.
  3. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2009
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    why not just bring good officers form armed forces or have atleast dedicated staff rather then brning form other departments . or give this deprtment to armed forces they would do better job like of isi. THIS IAS peoples are hell down on degrading india
  4. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

    Feb 23, 2009
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    A strong intelligence agency is the backbone of a safe community.

    The PM-O should take this opportunity to stop the rot once-for-all. Clear the man at the top, no matter what the political consequences may be. You're the Prime Minister, for chrissakes.

    All of you guys- especially the technical- should take this opportunity to consider a position with the NTRO. Yes, it'll involve wading through the muck that is our political bureaucracy. But that is the sacrifice you,= as patriots make for this nation.

    As well, this friction between the agencies has to be put to an end. There seems to be something of a rumpus between the (RAS) <Research and Analysis Service> and the IPS, which seems to be stemming from discrimination in treatment. The NSA Apparatus and the Prime Ministers' Office should take note of that.

    Verma's appointment early last year was a positive sign of change in the agency. You can see that from the halcyon that has prevailed, excepting Kashmir, over the period. He could bridge the gap between the other technical and espial agencies and had the political panache that is required of the head of such an agency. One hopes the government makes the right choice again.

    Also, there seemed to be a blurring, from what I last read, of the line between the field agent and the tech. analyst. With the result that quality intelligence had started to suffer. There is a very clear division between operative and analyst in these agencies; and the two do not meet.

    As well, new inductees and deputing officers should be forced to learn crucial languages like Pashto, Arabic and Burmese <bama sa>- that are being considered inferior. All the new guys should be forced to train a new language every 2 years, up to a maximum of 4 foreign languages, relevant to the theatre of deputation; and 2 Indian local languages. Target the language programs at the universities.

    Very importantly, I also think RAW should cultivate a culture of lethality. They should begin by doing it with Maoist shitsacs in Nepal, and then proceed from there to Punjab and Sindh in Pakisthan. And they should do this without the Centre's permission. For the political ruckus and haranguing that will follow any such proposal will ensure that it is never legitimated. Breed efficiency, conduct your covert ops, get in, get out, know and treat well your personnel and leave the rest to Pakistan's incompetent politico-bureaucracy and a much better Foreign Office.

    With all the proliferation of Universities that is going on in this country, the RAW should be targeting these for their next batch of recruits. As well, go out into the slums of the cities and streets, especially those around Madhya Pradesh and Bihar; you never know what talent you may find.

    I'd like you all to read a lil' of this piece: Wanted: A Definition of "Intelligence"
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    The shocking thing is the extent of nepotism and lack of meritocracy in RAW. Just imagine that we had no experts in Pakistan or China between 2007-2009?The time we actually had the mumbai attacks as well and when Musharraf was in turmoil.

    Whatthey should be doing is hiring analysts who are fluent in Mandarin, Cantonense, Tibeten, Punjabi, Pashto, Seraiki, Urdu, Balochi and so on. The reason why CIA is so effective is because they hire the best experts in each field regardless of where they come from.

    A very sorry state of affairs which I am surprised that no opposition party is picking up. Instead of indulging inpoint scoring they should gone totown with the UPA govt. on the state of intelligence agencies.
    Param likes this.
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Mar 24, 2009
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    The rut in RAW started long back and was a systematic decline over a period of time from the hey days of 71. It is like any other govt department where neoptism is rife. the huge unaccountable money they get is responsible. The US has something called the senate intel committee where the intel agencies report. I don't know if we have anything like that here. Even if we did, we have some worthless self serving politicians which would not make any difference. The whole Damn culture has to change.
  7. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

    Feb 23, 2009
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    To be honest, I think that part is a little bit exaggerated. The RAW is a labyrinthine bureaucracy, and if you've some idea what they're like, they have experts working in every field specializing in everything of any interest to the country. I don't know what these guyz mean by 'experts'. But I'm thinking a veteran, someone with a history of long and extensive covert ops and probably distinguished success in the country. You need someone like that at the head of regional desks, sure; but if everyone did their jobs, attacks like the Mumbai attacks and the Bangalore bomb blasts before them wouldn't have happened.

    We have to start developing a culture of broader linguistics at our universities. Right now, there's too much of a focus on Western and Iranic languages. Specialize in dialects, get experts on East Asian languages and learn some of the Central Asian languages if you want to expand your footprint in the region in the long run.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  8. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

    Feb 17, 2009
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    looks like raw affair..............
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    RAW has become an organisation of political favoritism and mis-use by GOI like CBI and Election commission.Instead of following its mandate of external intellegence gatherin RAw is being used for internal intelligence gathering on political rivals and internal subversions.
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    By The Way, I Dropped It​

    India’s defence data could be an open secret. Ask the NTRO bosses who lost their laptops.

    In 2006, Ravind Sistala was one among a clutch of scientists on deputation from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) in New Delhi. Set up in the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil War, NTRO was meant to be a single technical intelligence facility to keep watch on India’s hostile neighbours. It was also supposed to issue warning signals to those manning India’s missile systems and nuclear warheads in real time so that they could retaliate in case of a possible enemy strike. Sistala’s was a crucial job. The fortysomething was the centre director of NTRO’s missile monitoring division, a position that called for high levels of responsibility and secrecy. But very few within India’s security apparatus are aware, even today, that Sistala was involved in one of the biggest security breaches in India’s post-Independence history. He compromised a Rs 1,850-crore intelligence-gathering programme that had key linkages to India’s growing nuclear arsenal and missile systems. Unencrypted ‘Top Secret’ data pertaining to these was stored on Sistala’s Hewlett-Packard laptop (given to him by NTRO) which disappeared mysteriously while he was on his way to the Delhi airport in early 2006. Did the information-packed computer fall into the wrong hands? Was it stolen by an enemy agent? Even today, no one knows where the laptop is. If still in enemy hands, it has the potential to inflict immense damage.

    Ideally, such a security leak should have set alarm bells ringing and occasioned a swift and thorough investigation by the IB, RAW and Delhi Police. But rather than give the incident the attention and inquiry it deserved, a small but extremely powerful group of people—comprising a PMO official, DRDO scientists on deputation to NTRO and intelligence officials—helped Sistala escape any indictment by holding just an inhouse inquiry, which unearthed little. The missing laptop forgotten, Sistala continued as the head of the sensitive missile programme for another two years, and then returned to the DRDO.

    Two years after the Sistala episode, another security breach took place in the NTRO. Arun Dixit, the centre director of the organisation’s atomic explosion division (AED), lost his laptop somewhere in Washington DC during an official trip to the US with the NTRO chairman. The laptop was crammed with top secret data on India’s intelligence on the nuclear weapons programmes of several countries, including Pakistan, China and North Korea. But like in Sistala’s case, the powerful lobby of defence scientists once again scuttled a thorough investigation. The leak was buried and kept out of the files. Dixit too escaped any scrutiny and still serves in the NTRO in the very same post.

    Lost Laptops And Their ‘X’ Files

    Place Delhi
    Year 2006
    Official Involved Ravind Sistala
    Designation Centre Director (missile monitoring division)
    Organisation National Technical Research Organisation
    Incident Laptop goes missing from his car

    Secret Data Lost

    Presentations on Indian efforts to monitor missiles of neighbouring countries
    Details on the capabilities of the nuclear delivery systems of Pakistan and China
    Response options available to India’s nuclear forces (Strategic Forces Command)
    Deployment of radars to counter incoming missiles
    Vulnerable points in India’s air defence network
    Action taken None. Laptop not recovered. Official transferred to DRDO in a more sensitive position.


    Place Washington DC
    Year 2008
    Official Involved Arun Dixit
    Designation Centre Director (atomic devices division)
    Organisation NTRO

    Secret Data Lost

    Defence nuclear programmes of neighbouring countries
    Nuclear proliferation in Asia
    Dirty bombs being made in neighbouring countries
    Action taken None. Laptop not recovered. After probe, errant official retained in the same organisation.


    Place Delhi
    Year 2003
    Organisation Defence Research and Development Organisation
    Incident 53 computers go missing; later found with hard disks removed

    Secret Data Lost

    Secret coding of all communication used by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the defence forces, and the paramilitary forces, including Border Security Force
    Logs of intercepted Pakistani communications
    Action taken Case still unsolved. None of the hard disks have been recovered. DRDO has practically closed the case.

    The NTRO was set up in the summer of ’03. A year earlier, a Group of Ministers had handpicked RAW special secretary R.S. Bedi to set up the new intelligence outfit. Bedi started the process by setting up an office in room no. 326, Sardar Patel Bhavan, in the heart of Delhi, on March 29, 2003. The organisation was formally notified in July.

    Set up to plug gaps in India’s security establishment post the Kargil debacle, the NTRO’s charter eventually went much beyond the mere act of gathering intelligence. It became a key element within the security apparatus, hitting headlines recently when Outlook reported its ability to pluck GSM phone calls off the air. Bedi had served in RAW’s Aviation Research Centre, which monitored the missile and atomic programmes of neighbours. NTRO took on this responsibility after it came into being.

    NTRO’s task thus was to monitor and gather intelligence on all missile programmes in the region and convey the data in real time to the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a special military organisation that mans India’s nuclear arsenal and would deploy it in the event of a nuclear war. The SFC would also, based on NTRO data, periodically review and upgrade its positioning of nuclear missiles, and coordinate with the defence forces in launching a counter-strike against any nuclear threat.

    Sistala and Dixit clearly violated OSA, but escaped. They were also liable to 14 years’ imprisonment.

    This called for a credible linkage between a vast and intricate network of ground-based radars, satellites, secret command codes and SFC’s nuclear arsenal. NTRO’s missile monitoring division established these linkages and set up an early warning network for the SFC. Sistala had a key role in creating these linkages and as such had access to the most sensitive data on India’s capabilities, response time and secret codes. Naturally enough, all these details were part of the presentations, notes, documents, files and folders—all marked ‘Top Secret’—he had on the laptop he was given by the NTRO. Standard rules mandate that a laptop given by the organisation cannot be taken home or used to connect to the Internet. But these being early days for NTRO, Sistala was travelling around the country making presentations to security officials, beginning with then NSA M.K. Narayanan to the three service chiefs, the SFC commander, the intelligence chiefs and other top DRDO scientists who were to work on the technological aspects of the project.
    This is the time his laptop went missing. Shockingly, NTRO buried the episode in no time. A preliminary inquiry was ordered to be carried out by Brigadier Anil Malhotra, its counter-intelligence official, but it was quickly wound up. By this time, Bedi had retired from NTRO. A powerful lobby of defence scientists, led by R. Chidambaram, the principal scientific advisor to the government, had already determined his successor: DRDO scientist K.V.S.S. Prasad Rao. Rao had no previous experience in intelligence but he had served as the staff officer to Chidambaram for several years. Sistala, also from the DRDO, got a much-needed reprieve from the ongoing inquiry. He continued with the missile monitoring division for two more years before returning to the DRDO to work on air defence radars.

    Outlook’s attempts to elicit an official comment from NTRO via a detailed questionnaire sent a week before going to print met with silence. Phone calls and text messages to NTRO chairman Prasad Rao, its advisor P.V. Kumar, Sistala and Dixit evoked no response either. DRDO, in a cryptic response to an Outlook query, said it wasn’t aware of any lapses by Sistala at NTRO.

    Such security breaches are nothing new for the clique that still lords it over DRDO and NTRO. In Oct ’03, 53 computers were stolen one night from two DRDO labs—the Systems Analysis Group and the Institute for Systems Analysis and Studies—in Metcalfe House in Delhi. The computer carcasses were found later, but the hard disks had been removed. They contained secret encryption codes and communications of the army, navy, air force and all central police organisations. Till date, no DRDO scientist has been blamed. Many have even been promoted. A police investigation made no headway, while an internal inquiry remains alive on paper even though many of its members have retired.

    It’s also ironical that while many other officials have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on flimsy and concocted cases (see following story), Sistala and Dixit have escaped, despite being in clear violation of the OSA. In fact, since the leaks were related to India’s nuclear defence as well as secret codes, they could easily have attracted a penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment. Instead, the duo has continued in their careers. Should India’s intelligence agencies really be allowed to operate without even a modicum of accountability?
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Secrets of RAW

    Secrets of RAW By Air Marshal Ashok Goel (Retd.)
    11, Silver State, Pilibhit Byepass Road,
    Bareilly-243005 (U.P.) INDIA
    Mob: 9411900090, 09999722636
    [email protected]

    This is a commentary on a recently released book by a former officer in India’s external spying agency. There have been views and counter-views and occasionally, some of RAW operatives have spoken out of hand. Strangely, one RAW officer, posted in a Gulf mission, tried to denigrate his successor by alleging that he was using the diplomatic bag to smuggle gold.

    Nonetheless, there has been some serious debate on whether the government should have released the tapes of conversation between Gen Musharaf and his Chief of Army Staff on the occupation of Kargil heights. Of course, Pakistan lied and was nailed by the conversation. But still, one the Indian government let it be known that its agencies could monitor the highest level of conversation between the Pakistani military brass, the source dried up.

    Needless to say that it was an invaluable source.

    Maj Gen VK Singh’s recent book has sent quite a flutter in the intelligence fraternity in particular and has given the media another masala subject to ponder and deliberate upon.

    I also happened to serve an outfit of RAW, the Aviation Research Center (ARC), as the Operations Manager for three years from Feb 97 to 31 Dec. 99.

    My predecessor had called me up and advised me not to accept this deputation, as he had felt most unhappy 9during his two years tenure) mostly due to administrative arrangements and some what lopsided hierarchy. Since I had been on the advisory panel of the ARC during the late 1980s to establish the new inductions. I was quite familiar with the working environment. I accepted the deputation as directed by the Air Hq and joined the outfit during the first week of Feb 1997. Of course, the was against the advice of my predecessor.

    A fleet of more than 30 aircraft (fixed & rotary using), half a dozen air bases and about 1500 personnel spread out at the various places, I set the targets for myself: high serviceability, fully operational aircrews, high standards of maintenance and fulfillment of operational tasks.

    Overall objective” 100 per cent mission accomplishment. And I can say that this was achieved within the first 3 to 6 months.

    All I can the say is that the organization provided an open platform, to use one’s managerial skills, administrative acumen, and professional approach to achieve the organizational objectives. No such directives were given by my superiors. I had set by goals, I was responsible for my actions and I also set my objectives to ensure my accountability.

    The organization, up to the highest level, provided support to achieve all these institutional objectives. That is all an operative can ask for in an intelligence outfit.

    I served with three RAW chiefs- Mitra, Arvind Dave and AS Dullat, My immediate bosses were Mahajan and Billy Bedi , each of them an officer of impeccable character, excellent as human being and through professional.

    Having gone through Maj Gen VK Sing’s book’s 12 chapter, I did not feel any chilling feeling. The first three chapters are dedicated to his years with the Indian Army, the next two on very mundane issues of how the offices are located and to whom you report, and how many flower pots at the entrance of an office etc.

    One has to understand that in an organization like RAW – or for the matter in any intelligence organization-people have to work on the need-to-know basis.

    Having an office on the first, second, or third floor does not matter and certainly did not affect the functioning of the organization. People were available to the senior executives for interaction of issuance of any directions.

    Whether there are name plated or not outside the offices of various executives or personnel, id decided by the organization itself as part of its cultural on how to transact its business. People can be at different places;

    What matters is that the required connectivity should be there. Even the Army and Navy officers are widely dispersed in South Block, Send Bhawan, and hutments and even farther.

    Maj Gen VK Singh has talked about signal intelligence in three chapters. May be for an Army formation for its operational task, the signal Regiments plays a role which a commander cannot relegate elsewhere. That is a role peculiar to the Army.

    But for the conduct of external intelligence, there are may sources, humint, personal contacts, publications, satellites, and other sources of technical intelligence. As regards the interception of two generals being monitored and its tapes being handed over to Nawaz Sharif, RAW couldn’t have this on its own.

    This was deliberate decision at the highest political level. May be the dividends in terms of political and diplomatic gains were considered higher, and hence the assessment. Judgments are relevant to the time they are taken at.

    It should be well understood that intelligence organizations work at the behest of their political masters. It would be appropriate to quote an incident here.

    During Oct 1998, the Prime Minister’s Officer (PMO) advised RAW and ARC to go slow on surveillance of Pakistani activities to help ease the tension between the two countries, and build a friendly atmosphere. The focus was on Indian Prime Minister AB Vajpayee’s Bus Yatra (journey) to Lahore.

    The Pakistani military establishment, particularly the Inter services Intelligence (ISI) has not shown any such gesture. But despite that, New Delhi wanted to show a sense of goodwill. It was conveyed from the highest quarters that peace is important for both the countries, and sooner or later, Islamabad should evolve a sense in its own interest that peace with India would mean economic prosperity with its own people.

    Only when there were reports of Pakistani incursions in the Kargil heights that the ARC was tasked to check if the Pakistanis had indeed crossed the Line of Control to the Indian side and violated the border agreement.

    They had.

    We saw six Pakistani Mi 17 helicopters 10-12 km inside of the Indian side of LoC, mules and camps, in Mushkoh Valley, and Kargil and Dras sectors. Their pictures were immediately given to the then Defence Minister. George Fernandes, and the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army. In fact Fernandes expressed shock that Pakistani government talked of peace on the one hand and sent its troops to across the LoC on the other. What lies and double-speak, he had commented, and asked the Army to immediately address the intrusion.

    And we know the consequences. The Pakistanis initially denied-lies being a part of their state culture always-and later tried to rationalize it when caught.

    There are only two chapters, 11 and 12, where Maj Gen V.K. Singh has expressed serous apprehension of the organizational functioning.

    May be he was in an era where a particular set of people could not enforce and continue with the organizational cultural. A certain decline seemed to have set in and that is why Tharakkan, an outsider, was brought in to head the organization.

    There was a time when the Intelligence Bureau Chief and later, the RAW Chief, could meet the Prime Minister at any time. The hearsay is that Mallick and Kao used to brief the prime Minister every morning. They did not need an appointment.

    When Morarji Desai succeeded India Gandhi in 1977 after the Emergency, he did try to distance the RAW chief from himself, who was the legendary RN Kao, and asked him to go to the Cabinet Secretary first.

    03 RAW Chiefs IO served with also enjoyed a fairly decent equation with the higher political leadership.

    To quote an incident, the Army and Naval Chiefs had complained to the Defence Minister about inadequate and ineffective functioning Raw and its other outfits. A briefing cum presentation was planned in the Minister’s office in April 1998.

    This was attended by the Minister, George Fernandez, as well as the then Defence Secretary. RAW was represented by the RAW Chief, three addl/spl secretaries, Billy and myself. The Minister and the Defence Seretaries were more than satisfied.

    The inadequacies in fact were identified on the part of the Army and Naval Headquarters; there was no proper dissemination of the information given to them.

    Even during the Kargil operations, despite the clear picture of Pakistani helicopters well inside the Indian side of LoC, some Indian generals in the northern sector kept on insisting that there were no Pakistani troops inside India but only 60 to 80 infiltrators. The Pakistan President would have been the happiest with them.

    The Indian Army is yet to say what impact this perception, ignorance, or mindset of a couple of generals at the command level had on the Kargil operations.

    The K Subrahmanyam Committee, which looked into the Kargil War, did not go into the Army’s operational details, and I understand that he has mentioned that he was not aware of this mindset of the top army brass on the operational area.
    Perhaps the Army should have a re-look, if only to ensure that mistakes at the command level do not happen ever again Was it the system at the Army HQ which failed to convey the ARC reports to the Army Brass in the northern sector, or they deliberately ignored it so as not to own responsibility for the Pakistani intrusion.

    Reference to Subrahmanyam Committee

    A lot has been talked about the Subrahmanyam committee.

    Sixteen meetings were held between the Committee and ARC and RAW from August 1999 to Dec 2000.

    I quote relevant portions: “No intelligence failures had been attributed on account of functioning of RAW and ARC. However, certain equipment inadequacies were highlighted such as:

    (a) Satellite imagery resolution.
    (b) All weather capability with sub-meter resolution
    (c) Availability of UAVs
    (d) Better coordination

    Some of the observations of the Subrahmanyam Committee are relevant. It says in its report:

    “However, it acknowledge that the Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB) did convey certain inputs on activities in areas under Gilgit-based FCNA (Force Commander Northern Areas) of Pakistan to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director General Military operations (DGMO).

    There is a general lack of awareness of the critical importance of and the need for assessed intelligence at all levels. JIC reports do not receive the attention they deserve at the political and higher bureaucratic levels. Of the 45 intelligence inputs generated between May 1998 and April 1999, only 25% went through the JIC.

    A Kargil-type situation could perhaps have been avoided had the Indian Army followed a policy of Siachenisation to plug upheld gaps along the 168 km stretch from Kaobal Gali to Chorbat La… such a dispersal of Forces to hold uninhabited territory of no strategic value would have dissipated considerable military strength and effort and would not have at all been cost effective. The alternative should be a a credible declaratory policy of swiftly punishing wanton and willful violation of the sanctity of the LoC.

    Specific to Kargil Operation

    The Army HQ asked for photographic intelligence of the LOC in Oct 1998. After that no requisition was given by them. Only on 10 May 1999, a requisition was given to photograph our own territory. A number of missions were flown and I would like to mention the comments of the Chief of Air Staff of the operation, sent to director ARC:

    “I would like to place on record my sincere appreciation for the sterling work done by the ARC during Operation Vijay. The electronic and optical information provided by the ARC before and during the actual operations was of immense value to the conduct of air strikes.

    The co-operation extended by your men in carrying out missions under difficult and demanding circumstances in an eloquent testimony to the excellent leadership and guidance provided by you to the organization.

    I am confident that the co-ordination between our organizations achieved during the operation will continue in times to come.”

    Not only that there used to be nearly daily meetings between the DGMI or even with the Chief of Army Staff, Gen VP Malik. I quote the Gen VP Malik as saying:

    “ I highly appreciate the efforts of ARC in making our tasks easier. But you will appreciate I cannot publicly acknowledge these contributions.

    But I have no hesitation in admitting that it was with your organization’s sterling effort that the Army could link up and correlate their operational plans and execute them timely and successful; otherwise the causality figures could have been much higher.”

    Even after my retirement whenever Gen Malik me, he always complimented the efforts of the ARC.

    Every organization develops its own culture. Some allow more freedom, which actually help an officer, and an operative, to set the direction of his goals and objectives. As long as there is responsibility, this should be okay.

    There are enough checks and balances in the form of National Security Council and National Security Advisor, and checks can only restrict the flexibility of the organizational functioning of intelligence bodies. That may not be wise idea.

    (The views expressed by Subrahmanyam Committee u the author are based on his personal experience and do not necessarily reflect any policy of this publication).
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    The Vanished Spies

    India's premier intelligence agency RAW finally admits to being compromised, out spills a few turncoats

    The wheel has come full circle at the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Already reeling under the impact of the Rabinder Singh episode—the senior RAW officer is suspected to have defected to the US—there may be more skeletons tumbling out now at India's premier spy agency. For the first time, the firm has admitted that eight of its key operatives have gone missing—almost all while on critical assignments outside the country— since the agency's creation in the late '60s.

    The Rabinder Singh episode shook RAW out of its reverie. a backlash was expected....

    Rabinder is the ninth such known man on the defectors' list (accessed by Outlook).

    The file with the names is now on the desk of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Most of the cases go back a few decades but some names are likely to cause deep embarrassment in the spy community. Most of these operatives disappeared while on posting, relocating themselves to countries in North America and West Europe under assumed names and false passports. A number of them, it now turns out, were well-guarded 'assets' in the hands of foreign agencies, a euphemism for double agents, and are now green card holders in the United States or UK citizens.

    Now with the Rabinder Singh episode opening up a can of worms, RAW has been forced into damage control mode. Last fortnight, the PM ordered the file detailing the missing ex-RAW sleuths to be put up before him. Incidentally, that's when intelligence officials sought to make a differentiation between those who had settled down in the US or UK after retirement—and coincidentally there are scores of them—and those who disappeared without a trace with important confidential documents and information. The list of nine belongs to the latter category.

    Prominent among the names is Sikandar Lal Malik, personal assistant of RAW founder and superspy, Ramnath Kao. Malik, say RAW sources, was privy to the top-secret decisions taken by Kao during the tumultuous early '70s, including the plan to "liberate" Bangladesh. On a US posting, Malik disappeared one fine morning and is presumed to be living somewhere in that country now. His defection was a closely guarded secret for many years and is only now being acknowledged as a 'blow' to the agency's reputation.

    According to sources, it took the agency several years to assess the damage caused: Malik had crucial information because most of Kao's highly secret correspondence was handled by him. For foreign agencies, which otherwise had little access to Kao, the 'winning over' of Malik was a coup. This, because with Malik went a treasure trove of classified information, which may not have been known to anyone other than Kao himself and his boss, the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi.

    Other operatives on the missing list:

    M.S. Sehgal, a senior field officer close to former RAW chief Girish Saxena. Disappeared while posted as attache in London in 1980.

    N.Y. Bhaskar, a former attache in Tokyo, managed a green card; was supposed to be liaisoning with the cia. Later, disappeared without a trace in the US.

    B.R. Bachhar, senior field officer, disappeared in London. As attache in Kathmandu, he was liaisoning with foreign intelligence agencies in the early '80s.

    Major R.S. Soni, an undersecretary in RAW on the Pakistan desk at HQ, is believed to have escaped to Canada in the early '80s. Three months after escape, salary was still being deposited in his account.

    Shamsher Singh Maharajkumar, an ex-IPS officer posted in Islamabad, Bangkok and Canada. Reportedly settled in Canada after retirement. He's related to the royal family of Nabha in Punjab.

    Ashok Sathe, a former attache at Ulan Bator in Mongolia and the lone Indian counsellor in Khurramshahr, Iran. Even as his bosses were debating whether he had or had not defected to the cia, he vanished. He's also suspected of arson—the RAW office in Khurramshahr burned down, destroying all crucial papers.Said to be living in California now.
    R. Wadhwa, personal assistant to Balkrishnan, former RAW No. 2, disappeared in London in the early '90s.

    Even through all this, it took the latest Rabinder Singh episode to shake the RAW out of its reverie. Some form of a backlash has already started with all telephone numbers inside RAW headquarters changed without notice (for the first time in many years) and certain officials coming under the microscope.

    Senior intelligence officials, however, still play down the numbers. Says K.N. Daruwala, a former senior intelligence officer: "The RAW has been in place since 1968, and 7-8 defections in this long period is not too bad. And I doubt very much if the quality of information they passed on would have been too useful to user countries." All the same, there is a view in security circles that the time has come for stocktaking to 'weed' out potential turncoats.

    But it's easier said than done. Security analysts say in the absence of parliamentary scrutiny, there's virtually no accountability in the RAW which has seen better days in the '70s and early '80s. But now with the upa regime clamouring for a probe, suddenly there is need for action. The PM is being briefed on the changes by national security advisor J.N. Dixit, who's keen to 'revamp' RAW and other intelligence agencies.

    Top pmo sources say Dixit is concerned with the practice of RAW officials misusing the blanket authorisation to make contacts with foreign agencies. "Increasingly, there's been mindless and indiscriminate liaisoning conducted under various covers (lately under the cover of fighting terror) and without any monitoring. As per rules, any official making 'contact' with a foreign agent has to immediately put it down on paper for his seniors," says a RAW officer. Over the years, this clause has often been ignored, with deadly consequences.

    As a case in point, they point to Rabinder Singh's government-funded visit to the US in 2002. He had no reason to travel there since the course was an exercise in countering hijackers. Not once was Singh asked what he, as an official on the Southeast Asian desk, was doing at an anti-hijacking and hostage-taking programme "because there is little history of such activities in the region assigned to him", says an official. And this has been a growing trend in RAW, jostling for postings in North America and West Europe despite the regions not directly impacting India's security concerns.

    In a confidential note to the government, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Shukla brought out this anamoly. "There are numerous officers posted in the US, Netherlands, Germany, Japan and other western European countries, whereas in security-sensitive countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and uae, even the sanctioned strength is not being met." Shukla says it is easy to understand why our RAW officials have overstaffed embassies in West Europe and North America. "All the good ambience, good life, good education for children—at taxpayers' expense. This process must be reversed," he says. Question is, how?

    pmo officials say an operation RAW clean-up has been launched. Dixit has already had two rounds of meeting with current RAW chief C.D. Sahay and other top officials there. In a sense, all this could not have come at a more opportune time. It has raised issues already being discussed quietly in the reclusive intelligence community. Now that it's out of the closet, just how far is this upa government willing to go? Can it enforce a new, rigorous agenda in an organisation where everyone seems to be his own boss? And will it spur more names on to this list of nine?

    The Spies Who Got Away
    Sikandar Lal Malik Former personal secretary to RAW founder Ramnath Kao.

    M.S. Sehgal Senior field officer, close to former RAW chief Girish Saxena.

    N.Y. Bhaskar Former attache in Tokyo and London. Disappeared in the US.

    B.R. Bachhar Senior field officer, now lives in London.

    Major R.S. Soni Ex-RAW undersecretary at HQ, worked on Pakistan desk.

    Shamsher Singh MaharajKumar Ex-IPS man settled down in Canada.

    Ashok Sathe Former attache, Ulan Bator and Khurramshahr, Iran.

    R. Wadhwa Former personal assistant to Balkrishnan, ex-raw No. 2.
  13. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Mar 10, 2009
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    EST, USA
    There are several intelligence agencies within India, that have demarcated duties with overlaps with other departments. Some of these agencies are listed below:
    • Central Bureau of Investigation
    • Research and Analysis Wing
    • Intelligence Bureau
    • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence
    • Defence Intelligence Agency
    • Joint Cipher Bureau
    • All India Radio Monitoring Service
    • Joint Intelligence Committee
    • Signals Intelligence Directorate
    • Aviation Research Centre
    • Directorate of Air Intelligence
    • Directorate of Navy Intelligence

    The obvious problem with this is that it is difficult to co-ordinate effort of all these services. The problems are aggravated when any of these agencies are used for political purposes. These agencies, however, should have the national interests in mind alone. That is clearly not the case. Moreover, these agencies are not quite backed by efficient technology and military hardware, whereby they can be used in scenarios like rescuing a hijacked plane from a foreign territory.

    One of the great achievements of the intelligence has been the tapping the conversation between Lt General Mohammed Aziz, Pakistan's Chief of General Staff and his boss, the Army Chief General Parvez Musharraf during the Kargil War. Yet, another embarrassment was the failure of the sleuths to find missile related material in a North Korean ship that was detained in Kolkata after getting specific intelligence reports. It was indeed confirmed that the North Korean vessel, MV Dumangang, had made unscheduled and unreported changes in it's plans. Unconfirmed reports said that subsequently the sleuths came back to their collaborators, the Russian FSB, which further instructed them to go and look at a certain place in the ship after which they found missile related hardware components. It is difficult to verify whether this is true or not, however, it could be a possibility that India kept this secret to avoid embarrassment. This incident involved Myanmar and it's alleged military ambitions. Syria also featured in this incident. It was also alleged, that, given India's desire to keep Myanmar from drifting away from India into PRC's embrace, they tried all they could to avoid an international embarrassment. The biggest embarrassment was during the Mumbai Attacks, and it is widely believed that if there was lack of rivalry between different agencies and more co-operation, things could have been less tragic. The anti-Maoist operations have seen similar lapses as well.

    It is now quite a matter of hope since straightening things up seems a rather difficult at this moment.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  14. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 28, 2009
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    National Intelligence agencies evolve according to the strategic objectives of a nation that they intend to serve and organizational structures accordingly is mapped to the resources and strategic mandate that s made available them.If Mossad is feared and respected by all and sundry its because the sate of Israel has given it the clear cut long term mandate to develop into that role.Since the 90's Indian govt has virtually washed its had off its immediate neighborhood,we have withdrawn ourselves from all core areas of strategic interest in south Asia and we still expect RAW do be a feared whip cracking beast master in the region.

    India's Gujral doctrine of non interference in our neighborhood has made our intelligence agencies irrelevant to this region and many of its key stakeholder are frankly not concerned of our intelligence agencies or govt for that matter,because we they have nothing to fear from us.If RAW is to become lethal our strategic policies must such that enables such lethality to become useful and purposeful.
  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Latest: SC wants report on ‘corruption’ in secretive tech intelligence agency - Indian Express

    In this season of scandal, the Supreme Court today sought an explanation from the government on allegations of corruption and financial irregularities in yet another organisation — this time, the government’s highly secretive technical intelligence wing, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).

    Saying that a court-monitored investigation may be required into allegations of swindling, corruption and irregularities in the procurement of crucial equipment by NTRO, the Supreme Court today sought a report from the government on the action taken so far.

    A bench led by Justice R V Raveendran issued notices to the Union of India through the Prime Minister’s Office, the Central Vigilance Commission, the NTRO through its chairman, and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which had exposed the alleged irregularities involving top NTRO bosses in a “special audit report” tagged for the first time by the government as “top secret”.

    This is the first time that goings-on in an intelligence agency have come in for review by the judiciary.

    The NTRO, created in 2004 under the Prime Minister’s Office, essentially deals with missile monitoring, satellite and airborne imagery, cyber patrolling and security, cyber offensive operations, communication support systems, as well as cryptology.

    Today’s order was passed on a petition filed by V K Mittal, a senior scientist who had pioneered the formation of the NTRO but later pulled out after being “disgusted” by the agency’s functioning.

    Mittal approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court on April 16, 2011 refused to take any action, leaving it to the CAG “to proceed in accordance with law”.

    The Supreme Court today expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s status report.

    “Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against some of the officers of NTRO without appreciating the fact that the misdeeds of those officers clearly warrant initiation of criminal proceedings, also of which there is no mention in the status report,” the petition said.

    The high court, Mittal said, was merely dismissive about his petition. He argued that since the auditor’s report has been marked “top secret” it will not be placed before Parliament as is the norm.

    The scientist, through his advocate Prashant Bhushan, said that initially his complaints had “forced” the PMO and CVC to launch internal inquiries into NTRO, but their reports showed “total inaction” and “total secrecy”. The SC took note of the contention that a thorough investigation calling for all the inquiry reports was necessary as the NTRO is provided with “secret service funds” with no audit control.

    “The organisation so far, since the financial year 2005 till date, has been allotted approximately Rs 8000 crore and this is without any detailed CAG audit. Out of total funding, 25 per cent is considered secret service fund of which there is no accounting at all,” his petition said.

    The petition has sought the court to call for all reports relating to the NTRO, namely on the CVC inquiry, a single member inquiry at the behest of the PMO as well as the special audit report on the CAG.

    The petitioner has alleged instances of “corruption and irregularities” in the procurement of equipment including for UAVs (unmanned air vehicles); Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) payload for Rs 20 crore from the Israelis without sanction by Cabinet Committee on Security; acquisition of a communication system which had an encryption system with Chinese processors and which was later shut down and single-tender purchase of a “gateway based packet switch monitoring sensor system” from ECIL, Hyderabad.”

    Mittal has called for the audit report to be placed in Parliament failing which its contents should be shared with the bench hearing the matter. In his petition, Mittal has alleged rampant “misuse of funds, nepotism, favouritism, misuse of official position and falsification of facts” in the manner NTRO was being run.

    Speaking to The Indian Express, Mittal said that with the Supreme Court now hearing the NTRO case, he was confident that the details of the CAG audit would be shared, at least with the judges on the bench. “Beginning with the NTRO, the process of accountability in all intelligence agencies should start. The Government simply cannot bury inquiry reports of inquiries they have ordered and audit objections of the GAG and not take action on recommendations and findings.”

    He claimed that with the Supreme Court admitting his petition, the issue of SS (secret service) funds would also be discussed in open court. In his petition, Mittal has alleged that 25% of NTRO’s budget was “considered” SS funds for which there was no accounting or clearances.
  16. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Court to probe into national research organisation Rs800 crore scam - India - DNA

    Flabbergasted at the Centre’s inertia in concealing yet another scandal in the protected National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) that deals with various high-tech defence equipment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a status report and a one-man inquiry report that established the grave charge of massive meddling with the public money by the security agency under the PMO.

    During a brief hearing in a law suit filed by a whistleblower VK Mittal, who resigned as a senior scientist of NTRO and perused initiatives to unmask the officers behind the Rs800-crore scandals, the apex court also issued notices to the Central Vigilance Commission, Comptroller and Accountant General (CAG) and NTRO.

    Expressing its dissatisfaction over the manner in which the Delhi high court disposed of Mittal’s law suit ‘which is very crucial and important’, a bench of Justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik have given one month to solicitor general Rohington Nariman to submit the inquiry report and the status report in a sealed cover.

    NTRO was created by the Central government in 2004 under Prime Minister Office to deal with missile monitoring, satellite and airborne imagery, cyber patrolling and security, cyber offensive operations, communication support systems and cryptology.

    Mittal’s petition argued by Jayant Bhushan, the son of Shanti Bhushan, said that the NTRO since the financial year 2005 has been allotted about Rs8,000 crore. Since the agency describes itself as the `secret service’, its accounts have been without any detailed CAG audit.

    Out of total funding, 25% or Rs2,000 crore, is said to be Secret Service Fund (SSF) of which there is no accounting.
    In response to a RTI query, the Director General of Audit said a government memorandum stipulates that “the accounts of secret service expenditure will not be subjected to scrutiny by the audit authority”.

    Bhushan said the public money, though used for the national security service, couldn’t be left for misappropriation.

    Mittal’s law suit said the inquiries conducted in NTRO transactions, established that almost all the allegations levelled by him on corruption, irregularities in procurement of equipment and recruitments have been found to be correct. All the efforts have been made by the government “to suppress these inquire reports”.

    It was national security adviser Shiv Sankar Menon who had ordered an inquiry into corruption in the NTRO.
  17. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 9, 2010
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    Ejaz you are very correct about your first sentence.

    So what if Pak kept on bleeding us throughout the decade. Our guys did great service to SL in their role in the destruction of the LTTE.

    I think their priorities are different.With Mumbai bombings were happening with, the only thing that came out was talk of "clinching evidence".

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