Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir officers in race for RAW chief

New Delhi, December 5: With India’s external agency RAW embroiled in the murky and egregious CBI vs CBI battle, the government is keen to appoint an untainted officer as the new head of the organisation.

The terms of RAW chief A.K. Dhasmana and IB head Rajiv Jain ends on December 31. Shockingly, Samant Goel, a 1984-batch IPS officer from the Punjab cadre, whose is supposedly close to CBI special director Rakesh Asthana is a front-runner for the RAW chief’s post along with Mr K. Ilango of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, who was recalled from Colombo in 2015 amid a huge diplomatic fracas. Both are special secretaries with RAW.

Sources close to developments at the highest decision-making level said that the winner should be Mr Illango in a fair, merit-based selection but with a lot of dirty rumours churning around it could be anyone’s game.

Sources said, “Dhasmana is trying hard to hang around, but with the RAW underbelly exposed during the CBI episode, his ‘Plan A’ for succession was Samant Goel, which is now unlikely. ‘Plan B’ is to promote Vivek Jauhari over and ahead of Illango and R. Kumar, both highly competent officers but not deemed conducive to the ‘northerners lobby’ inside the agency.”

Mr Goel’s name surfaced in the bribery case against Mr Asthana. India’s deep state headed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will be giving his inputs on the same.

Mr Arvind Kumar, a 1984-batch Bihar cadre IPS officer who is currently a special director in the IB, and Madhya Pradesh police chief R.K. Shukla are among the shoo-ins for the IB chief’s job.

In the CBI vs CBI case, it has been alleged that Mr Goel tried to dilute the Moin Qureshi money-laundering and corruption investigation with the help of alleged middlemen and the brothers Manoj and Somesh Prasad, who are in custody in the Asthana bribery case.

Incidentally the Prasad’s  father Dineshwar was a senior RAW officer. The agency claims to have intercepted telephone conversations and WhatsApp messages suggesting a link between Mr Goel and the brothers. RAW’s image has taken a beating after their involvement in the CBI fiasco.

It needs to be mentioned here that Mr Goel is considered close to Punjab chief minister capt. Amarinder Singh, who wants to appoint him as DGP of the state.
Mr Goel is playing up his role in countering Khalistani propaganda in Europe against India to pitch for the top job.

Mr Ilango, an old RAW hand, was recalled from his posting as RAW’s Colombo station chief in early 2015 at the behest of the Sri Lankan government, which accused him of trying to help the Opposition oust then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In a bloodless coup, Mr Illango reportedly was the architect behind the fall of the all-powerful Chinese-leaning Mr Rajapaksa. The transition to IB could be much smoother. Mr Arvind Kumar is considered an expert on Kashmir with specialisation in counter-terrorism and is the favourite to bag the IB boss’s job.

Source Decccan Chronicle

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