New Delhi: Former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) officer NK Sood has made a startling allegation against former diplomat and Vice President Hamid Ansari, saying that the latter had exposed the R&AW setup in Tehran. The security of members of India’s external intelligence agency was thus compromised, claimed Sood.
Sood wondered why Ansari was made the Vice President for two consecutive terms (despite the then government knowing what the diplomat had done in Iran?).
I was in Tehran, Iran n Hameed Ansari was ambassador in Tehran. Ansari had played a crucial role in exposing RAW set-up in Tehran endangering lives of RAW unit members. But this very man was made vice President for two consecutive terms.
— NK Sood (@rawnksood) June 28, 2019
Sood said he had brought the matter to the notice of then opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who relayed the message to then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao who did nothing about it.
Meanwhile I brought it to notice of Atal ji who was leader of opposition. Atal ji spoke to PM Narasimha Rao. But no action taken against Ansari.
— NK Sood (@rawnksood) June 29, 2019
Further, Sood made a claim that was endorsed by his contemporaries in the R&AW.
When Hameed Ansari was ambassador in Tehran, 5 embassy officials were kidnapped by Iranian intelligence. Ansari refused to take action to release them. First time in history a demonstration by wives of embassy officials was held against Ansari in Tehran.
— NK Sood (@rawnksood) June 29, 2019
Following this revelation of June-end, which caught media attention not before 6 July, several retired R&AW officers demanded an inquiry into the whereabouts of Ansari at the time when he was posted in Iran, reports The Sunday Guardian. “They now hope,” reads the report by Abhinandan Mishra, “that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will get into the truth of the entire matter. These officers, who were posted in Tehran during Ansari’s tenure, had first approached the PM in August 2017…”
The former sleuths claim that, while being posted in Tehran, Ansari “not only failed to protect India’s national interest, but cooperated with the Iranian government and its intelligence agency SAVAK to cause serious dent to R&AW and its operations.”
According to them, says The Sunday Guardian, there were four major incidents when Indian Embassy officials, diplomats were kidnapped by SAVAK and Ansari deliberately failed in his duties to protect India’s interest.
According to Sood, Rattan Sehgal, additional director, IB, was caught passing on sensitive documents to CIA in 1996. He was allowed to resign and go to the US. He also falsely implicated Nambi Narayanan in the infamous ISRO spy case. Sehgal was close to Ansari. The former sabotaged R&AW operations when he was joint secretary (personnel) in the Ministry of External Affairs. He tweeted this on 8 July.
Rattan Sehgal, Addl director, IB was caught passing on sensitive documents to CIA in 96. Was allowed to resign n go to USA. He also falsely implicated Nambi Narayanan in infamous ISRO spy case. Sehgal was also close to Ansari n sabotaged RAW ops when he was JS(Pers) in MEA.
— NK Sood (@rawnksood) July 8, 2019
Sood had retired from the R&AW in 2010. He was posted in Tehran when Ansari was serving as the Indian Ambassador to Iran.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy reacted to Sood’s tweet, saying “Ansari was Communist’s candidate and UPA backed him.”
Ansari had joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1961. He served in Iraq, Morocco, Belgium and Saudi Arabia. He served also as the Indian Ambassador to the UAE (1976-1980), Australia (1985–1989), Afghanistan (1989–1990), Iran (1990–1992), and Saudi Arabia (1995–1999).
After his Iran posting, Ansari served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 1993 to 1995.
Sood’s allegation adds to the long list of instances when India’s foreign intelligence network lay exposed by the handiwork of India’s own government servants. Then Indian prime minister Morarji Desai had, in a telephonic conversation, revealed details of the R&AW network in Pakistan to Zia-ul-Haq. Besides, the Gujral Doctrine is widely believed to be behind the dismantling of the R&AW network in that country.
Gujral wanted India to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of its neighbouring countries. His act of bending over backward for peace made R&AW lose its ability to gather intelligence inputs from the neighbour that is arguably the most hostile towards India. This country paid a heavy price for it barely a year after Gujral demitted office in the Kargil War of 1999.