Months after a book authored by a retired army officer, "India's External Intelligence: Secrets of RAW" kicked up a storm, the government has finally decided to act.
The Cabinet Secretariat has slapped a case against the author, Major General (retd) VK Singh, charging him with wrongful communication of information in violation of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). The decision came on the recommendation of a committee of secretaries that looked at a request from the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to ban the book.
On Friday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) acted on the complaint received a day earlier and raided Singh's Palam Vihar house in Gurgaon in search of classified documents that formed the basis for Singh's book. A team consisting of senior officials of the Special Crime Unit of the CBI reached Singh's G-31, Palam Vihar house on Friday afternoon, the search continued till late in the evening.
"Our team is going through the data stored in his computer and we might be seizing it. We are questioning Singh," a senior CBI official said. Officials said they were also looking at whether Singh had any official documents, files or confidential papers that he was not supposed to be having at home.
A Signals Man in the army, Singh was on deputation to the R&AW between 2000 and 2004 and associated with the technical intelligence division.
His book looks into the functioning of the agency, detailing its lack of accountability and corruption besides hinting at poor leadership.
A defiant Singh lashed out at RAW saying that he would not apply for anticipatory bail, as he had done nothing wrong. "I stand by whatever I have written in the book. It is high time that RAW becomes accountable to public as the money they get is from taxes paid by people," Singh said.
On being asked why he had been booked under OSA, Singh said OSA applied to leaking defence documents but RAW does not have any defence-related documents. The CBI team, Singh said, reached his house around 4 pm and told him that there was a complaint against him from the Cabinet Secretariat and that he had violated the Official Secrets Act. The CBI team, he said, questioned him about his book, seized and took away his personal computer and motherboard. Asked if R&AW was trying to get back at him, Singh said, "R&AW is angry with people who speak the truth. They book was written three months back… I don't know why they have lodged a case now."