It has not perhaps happened in any country of the world that for the sake of its vote bank, the Government has staked the internal security of the country, but it is happening here in India. The Manmohan Singh Government, with the motive of proving itself right and defeating its opponents, has not only brought the country’s secret agency, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), to the verge of ruin, but also for its own vested interests has brought agencies like the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into conflict with each other.
Instead of cooperation, the Government has created competition between the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). In the process, the IB has had to stand up to the challenge. And that is why there is anger against the Government amongst the IB officers and functionaries. At present, the IB is not sharing information on internal security directly with the Ministry of Home Affairs or the State Governments, neither is it giving any cooperation to the State Governments in any terrorism operation. The IB chief Asif Ibrahim has already brought to the notice of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister that even after giving correct information about Naxalites and terrorists, people in the IB are blamed to the extent of being on the verge of being arrested. In such a situation, the morale of the officers of the Intelligence Bureau is sapped. As a result, apprising and briefing the Prime Minister daily about the situation of the country by the Director of the Information Bureau (DIB ) has become just a formality. Obviously, this situation is very dangerous for the country.
The country is in danger, but even then the stance and attitude of the CBI working for the Manmohan Singh Government has not changed. In Gujarat, in the Ishrat Jahan and Sadiq Jamal alleged fake encounter, the IB was already annoyed with the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Home Affairs over Rajendra Kumar, the IB Special Director being made an accused. But when the CBI, while interrogating Rajendra Kumar, recently retired Special Director of the IB, obtained the IB encrypting code, complete information about the diplomatic language manual of the IB, and noted his statement under section 161 of the CRPC, then the officials of the IB, albeit in a suppressed manner, adopted a rebellious attitude.
The Ishrat Jahan encounter trial has started in Ahmedabad where a special CBI court has committed the case to the sessions court. Information registered under Section 161 of the CRPC means that now Rajendra Kumar will have to give his statement regarding the case in the court and any citizen of the country can easily obtain get information about these matters linked with the country’s internal security by filing an RTI application. For example, in Gujarat till now, what was the information supplied from the field by informers, how much were they paid in lieu of the information. In what way and in whose favour was this information used. What is the way the IB functions and how does the network of IB informers operate and function. How are informers recruited and how much money is there in secret funds. How much does IB pay its informers and how much money does the IB take from the Government for paying its informers. This step of the CBI has been indigestible and loathsome for the IB. Officials of the IB say that this act by the CBI in the name of investigation will put in danger the lives of those informers who have provided the IB with excellent inquiry results not only from the State of Gujarat but in other important cases too. The lives of informers are in danger because when the CBI has decoded the encrypted code of the IB and included it in the documents submitted to court, it is obvious that during the course of the hearing, the informers who had provided information to the IB about the intentions of Ishrat Jahan and her companions will be called to the witness box in court to give evidence as witnesses.
In such a situation, the image and identification of the informers will become public, and then most certainly these informers will be in danger and subsequently other informers too will not be prepared to gather or provide secret information to the IB or other security agencies. This could prove to be fatal for our country. But look at the irony – that without thinking of the ill effects, instead of collecting information and carrying on with the investigation of cases, two agencies are preparing a dossier of reports against each others officers ! Both the agencies, instead of fighting against the enemies of the country are fighting a war against each other, to humiliate each other.
These days, the internal security of the Ministry of Home Affairs (IS 1 and IS 2), the officers of the Naxal Management Division and the Jammu and Kashmir Division are not getting any help from the IB other than feedback. Earlier, officers and functionaries of the IB provided not only solid news about terrorists and Naxalites and their identities, their activities and bases, but also helped in getting them arrested. On the surface however, the wrangling and squabbling between CBI and IB seems to have subsided. News of this trend has been written about in newspapers too, but it is not so. A senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office reveals that neither the PMO nor the Ministry of Home Affairs have received the IB’s intelligence report for the last two months even though it is the job of the IB to prepare and submit daily an intelligence report based on countrywide happenings. In addition, the IB is supposed to send a daily intelligence report to the PMO about disorder, unrest and conspiracies for terrorist attacks in the entire country. On the basis of these reports, the PMO and the Home Ministry brief State Governments and security agencies to be vigilant and take essential precautionary measures.
If these intelligence reports from the IB are not provided or available, terrorist conspiracies in the country cannot be foiled. It is obvious that these days the soured relations between these two agencies have imperilled the security of the country. The IB is not sharing any intelligence information directly. It merely provides and shares that information connected with terrorist reports which are being sent by other agencies in the country to the Multi Agency Center (MAC). What can be a worse plight of any Intelligence Agency in any country than that its Director makes an appeal and request from the Home Ministry to the Prime Minister — that the secrecy of his agency’s work should be maintained – and it is not heard anywhere. The Government had made the appointment of Asif Ibrahim as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau ( DIB) to break the assumption or myth under which the Government was blamed that it does not post anyone from the minorities to the top military and intelligence positions because they cannot
be trusted or relied upon in matters and issues related to the security of the country.
However, the former IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar against whom numerous allegations have been levelled and
preparations are being made to prove them, is counted amongst the most energetic and diligent of officers the IB ever had. Rajendra Kumar has a record that he identified about 300 Pakistani spies working in India and had them caught, but the Manmohan Government is not worried at all that because of its deeds the security of the country is in danger. Instead, it is very concerned that it is not getting internal intelligence reports about those five States where assembly elections are to be held this year. Without intelligence reports, the Government cannot gauge or find out its own status or that of its opponents in the poll bound States.
In fact, on this issue there is a confrontation between the Ministry of Home Affairs and of the Prime Minister’s Office too. A Ministry of Home Affairs Secretary level officer says clearly that all this has been done for the sake of ‘besieging’ the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, because he has become a strong contender for the Prime Minister’s post, and in the process, officers are becoming the victims of politics. That is why the brain of the CBI is being used. When the Ishrat Jahan encounter had taken place, then the Ministry of Home Affairs had declared that all the killed persons had been terrorists and had strongly opposed other political parties when they demanded a CBI probe into the encounter. Later the CBI said that there was no definite proof of Ishrat Jahan and her companions being terrorists. It was only after this that the court ordered a CBI inquiry.
In between, in this matter of tension between the CBI and the IB, and the preparations being made by the CBI to file a charge-sheet against former Special Director of CBI, Rajendra Kumar, meetings were held between Shivshankar Menon, the National Security Adviser and former Home Secretary R.K. Singh, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha and IB chief Asif Ibrahim in an effort to arrive at a compromise. In this meeting the stand was taken that the IB, being an independent, autonomous cadre controlling body, without its permission the CBI could not file a charge-sheet against any officer of the IB. But the meeting was just a formal attempt because all this news was making headlines in the media news and the Government was being berated. CBI Director Ranjit Sinha kept up his campaign against the officers of the IB and along with the charge-sheets filed against other accused Gujarat police officers, also planned to file a charge-sheet against Rajendra Kumar and three other IB officials in the CBI court in Ahmedabad.
Questions are being raised on the CBI investigation and intentions also because even after so many controversial disputes and discussions, the CBI has so far still not cleared two things. First, whether Ishrat Jahan and her companions had any links with terrorists? If the CBI responds to this by saying ‘yes’, then the political games it is playing behind the veil of an investigation will get disclosed. And secondly, if the Ishrat Jahan encounter was fake, what was the motive and purpose behind it? Without any motive or purpose, why were people picked up from different places and killed in the name of an encounter? If the CBI accepts that the people killed in the encounter had links with terrorists, the IB will automatically be acquitted and then the political advantage will accrue to Narendra Modi. This will not be acceptable to the UPA at any cost.
Here the question also arises why the CBI entrusted the inquiry in this case to an IPS officer, Satish Verma, who was named or nominated by the mother of Ishrat Jahan, while Satish Verma’s annoyance with Special IB Director Rajendra Kumar existed even earlier. It was also known to almost every high official in the Department that Satish Verma did not like Rajendra Kumar at all. When the direction of the encounter investigation started going completely against the IB, the Director of the IB lodged his objection. After assessing the whole situation, the CBI took back the investigation of this case from Satish Verma. The very fact that the investigation was taken back from Satish Verma prove the point that the investigation of the Ishrat Jahan encounter was not being carried out in a proper manner. There is scope for doubts about the allegations levelled against the IB also because the IB’s task is to provide information, and not that the State police acts on its orders. Even if it is assuming that Ishrat Jahan was killed in the wrong manner, even then it cannot be understood the Gujarat police was asked to carry out the killing by an IB official, because once again, the matter gets stuck again on the same question: what was the motive, the purpose?
This is not the first case of conflict between investigating agencies in our country. Earlier too, while their mutual warring was going on, the country has experienced many terrorist attacks. In India, in the name of investigations by agencies, there is a sort of spider web which has spread. The Research and Analysis Wing, i.e. , RAW, Joint Cipher Bureau (an inter services Agency responsible for Signals Intelligence and cryptanalysis and encryption of sensitive data ), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Vigilance Commission, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Air Intelligence, Directorate of Navy Intelligence, Military Intelligence, i.e. , MI, Directorate of Income Tax Intelligence, the States anti-terrorist squads, the States Special Task Force, the States Police Crime Branch, and the Crime Branch- Crime Investigation Department. (CB-CID). Even though the responsibilities and spheres of action of the investigation and intelligence agencies are divided and separate, it is unfortunate that none of the investigating agencies come out clean on a testing stone. Whenever any incident relating to corruption or terror is examined by any agency, questions are raised over its functioning. The political blame game begins. Then the same inquiry is entrusted to another agency and then a different story connected to the issue being investigated emerges. As a result, both investigating agencies stay firm on their claims maintaining that their investigation outcome was true. In such a situation, conflict is born, and then the matter reaches the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Searching for a solution is just a pretense, but nothing is gained because here everything happens to the tunes of the political masters.
As a result, by using the investigation and intelligence agencies in its favour, the Government succeeds in defeating its opponents, but its crafty manoeuvre ultimately proves to be dangerous for national security and integration.