Currently at least one Intelligence Bureau officer is standing trial for extra-judicial killings. The charge is that he colluded with local police officers to stage a “terrorist encounter” as an excuse to execute four Muslim men in Gujarat in 2004. Between 2002 and 2006 it is alleged that the same group executed up to 20 Muslim men after apprehending them (Kumara).
The failure to prevent the Mumbai attacks has left RAW, “demoralised by years of poor management, RAW is desperately short of almost all of the resources a modern intelligence service needs” (Swami). Decades of nepotism within the organization have led many to refer to RAW as the, “Relatives and Associates Wing” (Raman, 73). In some cases RAW has suffered from single-source reporting and false double-source reporting in which RAW, IB, and military intelligence are all talking to the same person (Raman, 97).
RAW still suffers from the stigma and legacy of evolving from police organizations despite its mandate to conduct unconventional activities beyond its borders. The Indian government shocked their intelligence community with their selection of, “K.C. Verma — a police officer with no past experience of external intelligence — as RAW chief” (Swami).
According to one former RAW officer there is a revolving door culture that, “contributes to the lack of professionalism plaguing our intelligence agencies…we do not consider intelligence as a professional body vital for our defense as the armed forces” (Akbar, 106).
A retired Intelligence Bureau official is even more critical, writing that, “Indian democracy and constitutional liberty have outpaced the growth of systematic accountability of its police and intelligence fraternity” (Dhar, 10) pointing out that, “the ruling elite has grossly misused the Intelligence Bureau, the Research and Analysis Wing…” (Dhar, 17). Corrupt intelligence officials use their positions to extract bribes and kickbacks and play party politics in return of career enhancements. The IB and RAW remain as the only agencies in the Indian government which are not accountable to elected representatives or government by any Act of Parliament (Dhar, 83).
India’s intelligence services are known for loyalties which flip flop to whichever party is currently in power, that party then turning India’s internal intelligence apparatus against their political opposition (Dhar, 222).
In India it is apparently, “common knowledge that a fat portion of the Government of India’s largesse are ploughed back into the coftens of the insurgents and terrorists through corrupt politicians and bureaucrats” (Dhar, 113). The worst fear is that IB and RAW could one day come to resemble ISI and even stage a coup alongside ambitious Army officers the way Zia-ul-Haq did in Pakistan.
Former Intelligence Bureau director Ajit Doval writes that after every national emergency there are calls for intelligence reform and, “as if following a well rehearsed drill, government assures urgent reforms, committees are formed, some changes are brought about and we wait till the next episode again triggers the cycle” (Doval). But meaningful reform has been elusive which has led to the, “failure of the government to build systems and capacities to meet a threat that has been bleeding the nation over and over again” (Doval).
Up Next: India’s Secret Wars Part 5: Reforming the System
Akbar, A.J. National Security and Intelligence Management. Indus Source Books, 2014. Print.
Dhar, Maloy Krishna. Open Secrets. Manas Publications, 2005. Print.
Doval, Ajit. “Changing Paradigms of National Security-Need to Transform and not Reform Intelligence Apparatus.” Vivekananda International Foundation. 11 May 2014. Web.
Kumara, Kranti. “India’s intelligence bureau and Gujarat police indicted for extrajudicial murders.” WSWS.org. 25 July 2013. Web.
Raman, B. The Kao-Boys of R&AW. Lancer Publishers, 2007. Print.
Swami, Praveen. “A raw deal for RAW.” The Hindu. 18 February 2009. Web.
Unnithan, Sandeep. “The league of shadows.” India Today. 31 January 2014. Web.