NEW DELHI: Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief A S Dulat, in his upcoming book ‘Kashmir-The Vajpayee Years’, claims that he, as a crucial member of Crisis Management Group (CMG), in the aftermath of the IC-814 hijacking on December 24, 1999, refused to share the details of the secret meeting headed by then Cabinet Secretary Prabhat Kumar, but maintained that the end result was the blame game among officials.
“The CMG degenerated into a blame game, with various senior officials trying to lay the blame on one another for allowing the aircraft to leave Indian soil; the Cabinet secretary, being the head of the CMG, was one target, and NSG chief, Nikhil Kumar, became another. It was a fraught time and nerves were unfortunately constantly on edge.”
According to Dulat, Farooq Abdullah was against releasing the terrorists and told then J&K governor Girish Chandra Saxena, popularly known as Garry Saxena, that he would prefer to resign.
“Doctor Saheb, come come, sit down, relax, Garry said, You are a fighter, you don’t give in so easily. Out came the bottle of Black Label. As he poured the Scotch, Garry said: Doctor Saheb, you can’t throw in the towel so easily.”
Dulat said, with very few cards to play, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s team had little choice but to agree to the release of the three terrorists. “Nobody was helping us out. Relations with Pakistan were strained post-Kargil... the Americans were out on their Christmas week, so no CIA to plead with.. Jaswant kept calling the Taliban foreign minister, Abdul Muttawakil, but that fellow wouldn’t take his call.” However, the BJP on Friday rejected Dulat’s claims about the “goof-up” of the IC-814 hijacking case, saying consultations were held by the Vajpayee government with all parties then on how to handle the crisis.