There is trouble in India’s external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). At least four R&AW officers, who make up for the agency’s second-rung leadership, have proceeded on leave to protest the promotion of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, AB Mathur, to the rank of Director General of Police.
Mathur — who had earlier served in R&AW — had last joined the agency on transfer from the Intelligence Bureau in 2007.
The four officers — all of the rank of additional secretary — felt Mathur, a 1975 batch IPS officer, was superceding them. The agency has seven additional secretary-rank officers.
Mathur was one of the four IPS officers to have been recently given the rank of a DGP — equivalent to a special secretary — by the government.
In the R&AW, this was widely seen to mean that AB Mathur had superceded seven of his colleagues and could possibly become the R&AW chief when incumbent KC Verma completes his tenure in January 2011.
Sources said seven additional secretaries, piqued at the move, had conveyed their disappointment to the R&AW chief and Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar.
A top ranking government official, however, said the security establishment was conscious and sensitive to the “perceived injustice” and intended to take the “necessary steps”.
AB Mathur’s post, he said, was upgraded on orders of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet because some of his IPS batchmates – who ranked junior to him in the seniority list – had been promoted.
“I can understand their anguish… They are disappointed and upset… It is not true that they have been superceded but this is something that needs to be resolved,” the government source said.
The agency, for one, was trying to expedite the paperwork for their promotion in a week or two, he said, though ordinarily many of seven officers would have had to wait for a year more.
But the government made it clear that if it sensed any sign of trade unionism, it would come down heavily on the protesting officers.
“It would be treated as gross indiscipline,” the senior official told Hindustan Times.