Abhishek Verma and Manmohan Singh

Abhishek Verma and Manmohan Singh

How patriotic is our ultra nationalist Govt?

By

Faraz Ahmad

One day (June 3, 2015) Abhishek Verma, one of the prime accused in the Naval War room leak case of 2006, makes an explosive statement that the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) gave a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot case at the instance of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the next day, (June 4, 2015) the CBI disclosed that it has all but decided to close the Naval War Room leak case, by abandoning the plans to extradite main accused Ravi Shankaran from London.

In Oct 2005, a news report stated that some documents were leaked on a USB pen drive from the Directorate of Naval Operations in New Delhi (also called the Navy War Room). But these were intercepted by Indian Air Force (IAF) intelligence from the house of Wing Commander S L Surve. The documents, had details of Indian defence purchases, and exposed India’s future defence preparedness plans. These had been passed on to Abhishek Verma, Ravi Shankaran and Kulbhushan Prashar, an associate of Ravi Shankaran, also an ex naval officer.

Till April last year UK’s Crown Prosecution Services on behalf of India had argued that the CBI had substantial evidence proving Shankaran’s active role in leaking out Indian War room secrets to arms dealers and hence deserved to be extradited to India. In fact on May 22, 2013 UK Home Secretary Theresa  May had signed the order for Shankaran’s extradition to India giving him the requisite 14 days to appeal against the order, which Shankaran did in the High Court, which in turn overturned the order. The next logical step for the Indian government was to appeal against the High Court verdict. But we now learn that that plan has been shelved.

With this development the Naval War Room leak case comes to a dead end and all the other accused including Abhishek Verma stand to gain as well. Is it too far- fetched to assume a quid pro quo? Verma maligns former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, now out of power, by making unsubstantiated allegations and the BJP led government obliges him by virtually announcing the closure of a case which amounted to sedition whose penalty could lead even upto a death sentence?

That is history now. Soon enough Abhishek Verma, involved in several high profile cases of cheating and financial misdemeanours will be strutting around again the Capital’s power corridors as a free man. It is another thing that the challenge to Verma’s claims about Manmohan Singh bailing out Tytler has come from none other than former CBI chief Joginder Singh, well regarded in BJP/RSS circles.

India is supposed to be ruled by an ultra-nationalist party and the Defence ministry in particular is led by a highly educated IIT, Bombay graduate Manohar Parrikar. But more than anything Parrikar says he has been associated with the Sangh from the age of 16 and Sangh’s patriotism runs through his blood vessels. Besides he has the reputation of being extremely honest and upright. Therefore one would expect this dyed in the saffron leader to serve India’s Defence interests with a crusader’s zeal. Yet only the other day we were informed that he has given up on pursuing the Agusta-Westland helicopter deal, about which, when in Opposition, the BJP made such a song a dance. Now the Naval War Room leak probe is also abandoned for a petty deal of somehow keeping Jagdish Tytler implicated in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases and even more to further tarnish the image of Manmohan Singh. Is this how the Sanghis serve Bharat Mata?

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