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Dishonourable silence

Behind the noise and scurry that has accompanied the ?non-revelatory revelations? made by Jaswant Singh in his memoirs, there lies the matter of serious irresponsibility.
None | By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON JUL 28, 2006 12:11 AM IST

Behind the noise and scurry that has accompanied the ‘non-revelatory revelations’ made by Jaswant Singh in his memoirs, A Call To Honour, there lies the matter of serious irresponsibility. Mr Singh, in his book, writes about the presence of a ‘mole’ in the Prime Minister’s Office during PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure. He deduces this fact after a letter came by his way — “a decade ago” — reportedly written by an American diplomat to a Senator that referred to someone leaking information on India’s nuclear programme to the US. Why did Mr Singh keep quiet for so long? And why does he feel compelled even now to nip any investigations in the bud by not naming the ‘mole’? These are serious questions that the author needs to answer.

In an attempt to play things down, Mr Singh is insisting that he is “not given to indecent exposure” and will name the ‘mole’ privately to the PM. This is rather bizarre, coming as it does after he has extensively provided the nation, through the media and his book, what can only be termed a ‘tease’. Whether or not the former Foreign, Defence and Finance Minister’s claim of ‘a spy in the PMO’ is true or not, it needs to be investigated. (Surely, Mr Singh didn’t expect the Government of India to gloss over the particular chapter and investigate his reading habits mentioned in the book instead?) That he had sat on this ‘information’ throughout his tenure as a Union Minister and beyond is astounding. It is not up to Mr Singh or his defendents to declare whether the breach in the PMO was serious or not; it is up to the State to decide — and then act.

There can be serious consequences of withholding information regarding espionage against the nation, and Mr Singh’s  mumbles about who was not the spy in the PMO serves little purpose. It almost seems that by remaining quiet about the alleged incident all these years and continuing to ho-hum about the identity of the suspect, Mr Singh is keen to treat the whole matter as a parlour game with the nation. The ‘Mole in the PMO’ is far from being just an unfinished whodunit. It is a matter of national concern in which Mr Singh’s irresponsibility has been quite breathtaking. It is time he answered some very serious questions — and his coyness shouldn’t come in the way.

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