One may never get to officially know how national security adviser Ajit Doval forced Mizo insurgent leader Laldenga to negotiate a peace accord during his IB days or back stories to similar intelligence coups as the agency has shelved plans of immediately publishing its 128-year-old history.
Intelligence Bureau personnel feel any official account of its activities may put the domestic agency at the centre of a political slugfest and might force them to defend decades-old decisions.
“There is a difference of opinion within the IB as its official history may generate controversy and force it to defend old decisions — like why it tracked the movements of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s family after independence — which may have been taken keeping in mind then national interest,” a senior government functionary told HT.
“Therefore, no further or final decision has been taken on the issue,” he said.
But the absence of an official history of the IB or its external counterpart — the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) —has meant information in the public domain about the agencies comes from memoirs of ex-officers, many of which are self-serving.
Former IB joint director MK Dhar’s book Open Secrets or former IB special director AS Dulat’s recent and more balanced memoir Kashmir – The Vajpayee Years are prime examples of such accounts.
After the British Security Service, popularly known as the MI-5, published its authorsied history ‘The Defence of the Realm’ in 2010, the IB also decided to explore the idea.
“During Nehchal Sandhu’s stewardship of the IB, a committee was formed to look into the project. It was also decided to take help from retired IB officials to compile a history of the organisation but nothing much happened,” said a former IB chief.
The IB is also mindful of the fact that any unfavourable account of former leaders in its official history may be difficult to stomach for their political heirs, who are often blood relatives.