New Delhi: In an explosive revelation, ‘The Sunday Guardian’ has reported that the former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari, has been accused of putting the lives of R&AW agents at risk when he was posted as Ambassador in Iran during 1990-92.
He is also accused of undermining the capabilities of the R&AW in gulf countries, especially in Iran.
The revelation comes after former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) operatives have demanded a probe into the role of Hamid Ansari in damaging the R&AW operations in Iran.
The former officials of R&AW has written a letter to the Prime Minister to look into the matter concerning the former Vice President’s actions that weakened the secret service in Iran and in many other gulf countries.
The R&AW officers say that when Ansari was posted to Iran he cooperated with Iranian government and its secret service, the SAVAK to cause serious damage to the R&AW operations. He is also accused of failing to protect India’s national interest in his capacity as the Ambassador.
The officers cite around four incidents when Hamid Ansari failed to protect India’s interest when Indian diplomats were kidnapped by SAVAK and tortured and questioned in their custody.
A retired R&AW officer N. K. Sood told the Sunday Guardian that Ansari even recommended the closing down of R&AW stations in Iran.
During May 1991, an Indian official named Sandeep Kapoor, was kidnapped from Tehran airport by the Iranian secret service. When R&AW officials reported this to Hamid Ansari, he did not take it seriously and did not try to trace the missing diplomat. Moreover, Ansari wrote to External Affairs ministry in India blaming Kapoor for being involved with a local woman and his activities were suspicious for Iran.
Kapoor was found three days later on the roadside drugged. He suffered for many years rising from the consequences of his detention with the Iranian spy organization. Ansari did not even bother to lodge a complaint with Iranian authorities despite being asked by R&AW.
Another serious allegation thrown at Hamid Ansari occurred during August, 1991. During those times, the R&AW was keeping a close watch on Kashmiri youths coming to Qom a religious center in Iran for arms training.
The new station chief of R&AW thought of informing Hamid Ansari about the development. Though, other R&AW officials advised him not to inform Ansari, the new station chief went ahead and gave the information to Ansari.
Promptly, Hamid Ansari passed on this information to Iranian authorities who passed it on to the secret service. Ansari went even further and gave the name of the operations head to Iran.
D. B. Mathur, who headed the operation, was picked up by Iranian secret services when he came to the Indian embassy. When Ansari did not try to intervene and secure the release of the Indian official, the R&AW decided to look for other options.
R&AW informed Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi, who then informed then Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao. Fortunately, with the involvement of Vajpayee and Narasimha Rao, the official was released from prison and asked to leave Iran within 72 hours.
Mathur on his release had told that the Iranian authorities were aware about the identities of R&AW officers.
A humiliating experience for R&AW came their station chief, P. K. Venugopal, was kidnapped by Iranian spy agency and released three hours later after being beaten and tortured by them.
Ansari did not move a finger to secure his release or complain to Iranian authorities.
Another serious allegation against the former Vice President which the R&AW officials in their letter to the Prime Minister mentions is that Hamid Ansari had long meetings with Pakistani Ambassador in Tehran and also brought over Ambassadors of Dubai, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia to undermine the activities of R&AW in their respective countries.
The officials say that when the Bombay blasts occurred the R&AW operations in gulf countries were weak because of the actions of Hamid Ansari.
It is said that when Hamid Ansari was finally transferred from Iran, the officials at the Indian Embassy celebrated the occasion.
It is surprising that a man with a dubious past of putting the lives of Indians in danger was made the Vice President for two consecutive terms by the UPA government.
After his stint as the Vice President, Hamid Ansari continued with his agenda. He is on the records for saying that Shariat courts must be set in every district in India. Ansari had no qualms in going to a meeting organized by Islamic fundamental organization, Popular Front of India, which is accused in love jihad cases and other anti Indian activities.
Hamid Ansari also courted controversy when he said that he feels insecure to live in India which painted the country in a bad light across the world. It also helped in putting the seeds of fear and uncertainty in the minds of minorities of the country.