India's external intelligence gathering agency, Research and Analysis Wing, is in the news again but for wrong reasons as seven of its Additional Secretaries have gone on protest leave after they were superseded by an IPS officer junior to them from the Intelligence Bureau.
The mass protest leave by the senior officials prompted the Cabinet Secretariat to issue an urgent order to hold a Departmental Promotional Committee process by next week itself for the seven officials who were ranked as Additional Secretaries in the external spy agency, sources in the agency said on Monday.
Trouble began when the government cleared A B Mathur, a 1975 batch IPS officer from Manipur cadre, for promotion as Special Director General and posted in RAW as Special Secretary. Among those who had been superseded were P M Hablikar and Chakru Sinha, who were from the 1973 batch of the RAW Allied Services (RAS) cadre.
The officers approached RAW Chief K C Verma who briefed the Cabinet Secretariat prompting it to hold a DPC meeting by next week, the sources said.
RAS cadre officials traditionally have an upper hand over officials from the IPS and IAS joining their service. Any official joining the RAW is usually placed at the bottom of the service with no seniority benefits.
The issue of outsiders has been a problem with the RAW ever since A S Dulat joined the agency as its Chief. He was Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau.
The UPA government brought Director General of Kerala Police P K Hormese Tharakan as new chief of RAW in 2005 superseding Special Secretary J K Sinha, who had resigned.
This was followed by an ugly episode of fleeing of a RAW Director, Rabinder Singh, during the same time, which prompted the government to examine the rules of the external intelligence agency.
After Tharakan, an insider Ashok Chaturvedi (1970 batch IAS officer) was appointed as next chief of RAW. His appointment sidelined Amber Sen, who had been made Special Director in RAW months ahead of him.