New Delhi: Over years, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) - a premier intelligence agency of the country - has been in a negative limelight due to a few agents that have mysteriously vanished during foreign postings, in order to settle in western countries.
Indian magazine "Outlook" had shed light on some RAW turncoats previously.
Till date, RAW was trying to keep such instances under wraps, but recently, it has admitted that eight of its key operatives have gone missing. Almost all were on critical assignments outside the country. The ninth known man on the defectors’ list is Rabinder Singh, an ex-army officer and a joint secretary in RAW, who had defected to the USA in 2004.
Prominent among the defectors’ list are names like:
- Sikandar Lal Malik, personal assistant of RAW founder
- Ramnath Kao
- MS Sehgal disappeared while posted as an attaché in London in 1980.
- NY Bhaskar was supposed to be negotiating with the CIA. Later, disappeared without a trace in the US.
- BR Bachhar, senior field officer, disappeared in London.
- Major RS 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.
- Ashok Sathe, a former attaché 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
- R Wadhwa disappeared in London in the early '90s.
RAW has finally woken up to the issue and in the meanwhile, some external factors/personhave started changing telephone numbers inside RAW headquarters. Due to this development, many officials are also coming under the scanner.
However, former senior intelligence officer, KN Daruwala, has tried to play down the numbers as he reportedly quoted “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.”