Sarabjit Singh had gone to Pakistan for an operation managed by a senior Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official, who later became the external intelligence agency's chief as well, sources have told HT.
"Sarabjit was an Indian spy in Pakistan. He managed to accomplish the task given to him but was caught while trying to flee," said an intelligence source who refused to elaborate more on the operation taken up by the spy.
A former intelligence official, who dealt with Sarabjit's case, said the operation executed by Sarabjit didn't serve any tactical purpose but still the agency had executed many such missions in Pakistan in the early and mid 90s.
"Some of the operations executed by the RAW during the period were totally mindless. Spies like Sarabjit and their family have paid huge cost for it. Sometimes, the agency officials executed operations out of personal bravado that they can get 'something' done in Pakistan," said the official.
Sources also point out that the agency is yet to evolve a policy for paying spies like Sarabjit or their families when they caught in the enemy land.
"Payments vary case to case depending on the nature of operation. There is no uniformity in discreet payments to families when such agents are caught or eliminated by the enemy," says a source.
"Sarabjit had been awarded a state funeral because his case was mainly highlighted due to efforts of his politically astute sister Dalbir Kaur. His family is also being compensated, But there are many cases in which the spies came back from Pakistan knocked the doors of courts to get their dues," the source said.