Noose tightens around RAW defector
Govt will soon initiate legal action against former top spy Rabinder Singh who defected to the US two years ago.india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 11:43 IST
Decks have been cleared for the Government to initiate legal action against former top spy Rabinder Singh of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) who defected to the US two years ago.
The legal proceedings to be initiated against Singh, who was joint secretary handling Southeast Asia in the country's external intelligence agency, could include the seizure of his properties in and around Delhi, top sources said.
The step to initiate proceedings against Singh follows the completion of an extensive investigation, including voluminous documentary and video evidence showing his involvement in leaking sensitive national secrets.
Singh, who fled to the US along with his wife through Nepal in May 2004, will be charged under provisions of the National Security Act (NSA) and a formal complaint to be filed with police here is being processed by the law ministry.
RAW officials have reportedly questioned Singh's personal staff and his acquaintances, besides despatching teams to Geneva in Switzerland and Damascus in Syria, where he was earlier posted.
NSA permits detention of people considered a security risk as well as the attachment of their properties.
Highly placed sources told IANS the Government planned to attach 15 properties owned and controlled by Singh in Delhi, Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Shajahanpur and Bareilly. RAW had earlier recommended that Singh be charged under Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act so that he could be declared a proclaimed offender and his properties in India could be seized.
"The relevant section invites imprisonment of up to three years and fine or both in case the accused does not appear before a court. But there has subsequently been a rethinking," said an official source.
Singh was in charge of RAW's Southeast Asia desk when he reportedly fled to Nepal May 14, 2004, and then to the US, allegedly using an American passport provided by his American "handlers" to whom he had been allegedly passing on secrets.
There have been several theories on Singh's possible whereabouts, with reports suggesting he was "spotted" in Virginia and Jackson Heights in New York, but there has been no actual confirmation of his location.
Reports have even hinted that Singh, who has apparently assumed a new identity, has undergone a facial makeover.
Of Singh's properties, 10 are in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida, including office spaces near Connaught Place and in west Delhi, a flat in the upmarket Defence Colony and a country villa in south Delhi's Khanpur.
It is believed that in at least eight cases, Singh's name figures in ownership records.
Government sources said once legal proceedings against Singh were initiated, an official request for his extradition would be sent to the US.