RAW officer victim of infighting?


New Delhi : Infighting within the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency, may have led to the recall of one of its operative from Sri Lanka, knowledgeable sources here say.

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Professional rivalry between cadres of the Research and Analysis Service (RAS) and police recruits in the organisation seems to have led to the recall of Ravi Nair, a joint secretary-level RAW officer, from Colombo, these sources say.

Nair has been accused of maintaining unauthorised contacts with a foreign woman, that too one reportedly with dubious Chinese connections.

No one in RAW is ready to go public about the latest scandal to hit the spy agency. But there are those willing to stand by Nair.

“He is a competent officer. Even some in the Indian high commission could not see eye to eye with him. You think a senior officer like him would be daft to network with a foreigner?” a top RAW official asked.

“Colombo is a small place and rumour mongering is a major weapon,” another intelligence official told IANS. “Many people from other services did not get along with him.”

Informed sources said that Nair was likely to face disciplinary proceedings.The allegations against Nair, particularly because of the Chinese connection, have heightened concerns and led to an official probe.

Nair is alleged to have met the woman during his earlier posting in Hong Kong. He apparently continued to maintain ties with her after he was posted in Colombo over a year ago.

“Nair has held sensitive assignments in the US, Pakistan and Bhutan. I know for sure that he has been an upright officer,” said a RAW official.

It is learnt that RAW operatives in China, including those attached to the Indian embassy in Beijing, have been summoned for questioning to New Delhi.

Most field operatives posted abroad were previously encouraged to keep contact with locals. But directions from the RAW headquarters around mid-September asked them explicitly to stop all “local dealings”.

This is the latest scandal to hit the agency which is facing the heat after former official Maj Gen (retd) V.K. Singh published a book earlier this year critical of RAW’s functioning. He was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that registered a case against him under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for alleged “wrong communication of information”.

Three years back a former RAW joint secretary, Rabinder Singh, fled the country to the US.