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Missing RAW man traced to Virginia

Indian intelligence agencies finally track down Rabinder Singh, dismissed joint secretary of RAW who disappeared after it was found that he was spying for a Western intelligence agency, reports T Srivastava.

india Updated: May 10, 2007 04:03 IST

Indian intelligence agencies have finally tracked down Rabinder Singh, dismissed joint secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) who disappeared after it was found that he was spying for a Western intelligence agency. In a letter to the CBI in December last year, RAW stated that Singh and his wife, Parminder Kaur, were residing in 761, Keithley Drive, Great Falls, Virginia, United States.

Singh’s disappearance in April 2004 was a major embarrassment to the Indian government and RAW, especially when they failed to explain how he had managed to evade RAW watchers and why there had been a delay in taking action against him, giving him enough time to escape.

Singh was then in charge of the Southeast Asia and Far East territorial divisions in RAW. The allegations of spying have now been substantiated in a RAW inquiry, which gives an account of the damage done by Singh to national security. The investigation also reveals how Singh’s “handlers” in Washington arranged for fake passports for his escape.

Arun Kumar Sinha, additional commissioner, Special Bureau, Cabinet Secretariat, wrote to CBI director Vijay Shanker on December 22, 2006, requesting the agency to initiate the process for issuance of a red corner notice against Singh. The letter, accessed by the Hindustan Times, gives details of the investigation conducted by RAW. The inquiry, the letter says, revealed that Singh and his wife fled India on April 30, 2004 and reached Nepal on May 1, 2004 on their way to the US. They subsequently boarded Austrian Airlines flight OS-032 from Kathmandu to the US via Vienna, using US passports issued on April 7, 2004 in Washington in the names of Rajpal Prasad Sharma and Deepa Kumar Sharma. The inquiry further revealed the Virginia address.

The inquiry also found that the accused took photocopies of classified secret documents in his office room during lunch hours and carried 212 such photocopies to his residence. “Singh was also found to be in unauthorised contact with one Walter P. Morrison, the second secretary in the US embassy at the Hague during 2001, while he was posted in the Indian Embassy as first secretary (consular). Singh showed nine top-secret files to the said Morrison,” the letter states. These pertained to matters in which disclosure was likely to affect the defence of India, its relations with other countries, its security and which could be useful to an enemy. Singh was not authorised to take or possess copies of any of these documents.

Simultaneously, proceedings under 3(1) (a) National Security Act were initiated against the accused persons. The inquiry was initiated for offences under 3(1) (c), 5(1) (c) and (d) and 5(2) of the Official Secrets Act and other offences against Singh.

As first reported by HT in January, open non-bailable warrants have already been issued for the arrest of Singh and his wife. The CBI has forwarded a request to the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with US authorities as per the provisions of the Indo-US extradition treaty.