July 22, 2007

RAW refuses to answer Interpol`s queries on spy who defected


New Delhi, July 22: India's request for an Interpol red corner notice to be issued against absconding Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official Rabindra Singh is set to hit a roadblock after the intelligence agency refused to entertain clarifications sought by the World Police Organisation.

After obtaining a non-bailable arrest warrant in February against Singh, a RAW joint secretary who defected to the US in 2004, the agency approached the CBI to make a case against the official with Interpol and to secure a red corner notice.

The CBI sent the non-bailable warrant issued against Singh to Interpol's headquarters in Lyons, France, in March. Interpol then sent several questionnaires to the CBI.

These questionnaires raised several issues, including why a non-bailable warrant was issued nearly two-and-half years after Singh fled the country despite facing serious charges like spying. They also sought information on the sensitive department handled by Singh and the national secrets allegedly leaked by him, official sources said.

The CBI, the nodal agency in the matter, approached the RAW headquarters for clarifications. But it was surprised to find that the RAW did not want to disclose anything and was pressing the CBI to try and secure a red corner notice only on the basis of documents available with the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, the sources said.

Since such replies could not be forwarded to Interpol, the CBI now believes there is little or no chance of a red corner notice being issued against Singh, who is believed to be living at Jackson Heights in New York in the US, the sources said.

Surprisingly, the sources said, the RAW was unwilling to hand over the probe to the CBI and special permission was taken from the Cabinet Secretariat under which an officer of the rank of Director in the RAW was given special prosecution powers.

The complaint said a case had been registered under the Officials Secrets Act against Singh, who fled the country on May 14, 2004. It is suspected that Singh compromised national security by spying for a western intelligence agency.

Though officially the RAW has not mentioned the name of this agency, sources said he was working as a mole for the CIA and fled through Nepal on a passport in a fake name.

Singh was placed under surveillance when he was allegedly found photocopying documents unrelated to his work. A secret report said Singh, whose wife and other family members lived in the US, had bank accounts in Singapore, Brunei and the US.

The official, who apparently knew he was under surveillance, suddenly disappeared in May 2004.

His disappearance became a major embarrassment for the government and the RAW, who failed to explain how he managed to get out of the country and why there was a delay in taking action against him.

Bureau Report


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