Three top cops set to hang up boots
By Yatish Yadav - NEW DELHI
Published: 07th Oct 2012 11:12:24 AM
Year end will not only decide the fate of two poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, but of three investigative and intelligence agencies as well, with the tenure of their chiefs ending around the same time.
The heads of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) will retire between November and December. While speculations are rife that IB Director Nehchal Sandhu might be given extension of at least three months, the remaining two are more keen on finding a post-retirement rehabilitation.
Amar Pratap Singh, a 1974-batch IPS officer of Jharkhand cadre, took over the mantle of the premier investigating agency in November 2010; and during two years of his tenure, he handled most high-profile cases of recent times, including 2G Spectrum allocations, Commonwealth Games scam, Coalgate and Adarsh Housing Scam. The investigating agency’s crackdown on ministers, politicians and mighty businessmen, successfully decoded scams that are camouflaged in inexplicable government policies. Singh, with a knack for investigating financial crime, revived the almost-defunct wing of the agency.
If North Block sources are to be believed, the President’s Police Medal awardee Singh may get a position in National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to help the investigation wing of the Commission, tasked to look into human rights violation across the country. Sources said, Ranjit Sinha, Singh’s batchmate in the IPS, currently serving as DGP of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, is top contender for the job. Among various other names doing the rounds include V K Gupta, a 1977 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre. Gupta is currently serving as special director in the CBI and supervising probe into some high-profile cases including disproportionate assets case against YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy and 2G spectrum allocation. SC Sinha, a 1975 batch IPS officer of Haryana cadre, served in the CBI as a special director before joining National Investigation Agency. During his stint with the CBI, Sinha handled several sensitive cases, including the Shopian murder case.
If CBI cracked a whip against corruption in the last two years, India’s internal spy agency—the IB—witnessed a slew of measures to revive the ailing agency by Nehchal Sandhu. The veteran intelligence operator, Sandhu speaks perfect Bihari, is a soldier, a spy and an upright officer all rolled in one unique package. An IPS officer of 1973 batch of Bihar cadre, Sandhu is expected to hang up his boots in December, but if government sources are to be believed, he may be given a three-month extension.
A smooth intelligence operator Sandhu, broke the back of Sikh militancy with his deep penetration in Punjab under the command of his senior IB officer Ajit Doval. A most unlikely find in the intelligence agencies, Sandhu loves to fight the battle, as much as he loves to gather intelligence.
His colleagues in IB say Sandhu sahib’s knowledge of operational strategy, intelligence and terrorism, and above all his love for collecting intelligence had helped many successful operations in Punjab, and Jammu an Kashmir.
“His experience in J&K and cross border terrorism helped to crackdown on the funds flowing through Pakistan intelligence agency ISI which was later collected by several separatist leaders of the Valley. His tenure in Canada helped agency neutralise radical Khalistani elements,” they said.
The names, which are being floated to succeed Sandhu, include Ram Niwas Gupta, a 1976 batch IPS officer of Himachal cadre; and his batchmate in the service, Yashovardhan Azad of Madhya Pradesh cadre. Both the officers are presently serving as Special Director in the IB.
But unlike the IB, succession process in external spy agency RAW will be a smooth affair after present chief Sanjeev Tripathi hangs up his boots in December. Sources said Alok Joshi, a 1976 batch IPS officer of Haryana cadre, is tipped to be next RAW chief. Joshi currently serving as special secretary and is second in command at the RAW headquarter. Earlier Joshi served as RAW station chief in Nepal, overseeing crucial operations in the neighbouring country.
Tripathi, whose appointment as RAW chief in 2010 triggered controversy, is the son-in-law of former RAW chief GS Bajpai. Before taking over as secretary of RAW, Tripathi was heading the Aviation Research Centre (ARC) aircraft surveillance and technical intelligence wing of the agency. But the controversies over his appointment died soon after he successfully introduced fresh wave of reform within the agency. Unlike his predecessors he recently handled a counter-intelligence operation effectively by dismissing a senior officer before RAW could lose another asset like Rabinder Singh to a third country.
A 1972 batch IPS officer of UP cadre, Tripathi quit IPS to join the Research & Analysis Service. During Tripathi’s tenure, RAW bridged the chasm that exists between internal and external intelligence agencies and infused better coordination to nab the terrorists holed up abroad. The recent deportation of Lashkar operative Abu Jundal is classic example of transformed relationship between the two agencies. While discussion over the retirement age of babus may continue in the corridors of power, the agencies used to be handled by senior working minds will definitely miss these three top cops.