Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mohanlal Bhaskar: An Indian RAW Agent in Pakistan

Mohanlal Bhaskar was working undercover for Indian intelligence agency RAW when he was arrested in a counter-intelligence operation by Pakistan. He remained in Pakistani jails from 1967 to 1974.  He and dozens of his fellow Indian spies were released as part of a prisoner exchange with India following the signing of the Simla Accord by Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Mohanlal Bhaskar: An Indian Spy in Pakistan

In a 1983 autobiographical book titled "An Indian Spy in Pakistan", Bhaskar says that he took on a false identity as Mohammad Aslam and had himself circumcised to operate as a Pakistani Muslim on behalf of Indian intelligence in Pakistan. The book was originally written in Hindi as "Main Pakistan Mein Bharat Ka Jasoos Tha" and later translated into English by Jai Ratan.
Bhaskar's mission was to gather intelligence on Pakistan's nuclear program when he was betrayed by Amrik Singh, a double agent who worked for both Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Bhaskar narrates his treatment as a prisoner in several detention and interrogation centers and his trial on charges of espionage. He met some very kind jailers and fellow Pakistani inmates in some places but he also recounts instances of hate and torture he suffered during his detentions at some facilities. From his account, the treatment he was given depended on the individuals he encountered rather than a systemic policy.

Bhaskar claims that he met former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during his time as a prisoner at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail. Bhaskar also says that Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman was in  Mianwali jail while he was held there. He boasts about the Indian Air Force jets bombing Pakistan Air Force base at Mianwali and rendering it inoperable during 1971 war.

Bhaskar's book appears to have been vetted and its contents influenced by the Indian intelligence. It particularly shows through when he reflects Indian government's party line and blames Pakistan for India-Pakistan conflict. He blames Pakistan for the 1971 hijacking of an Indian aircraft "Ganga". It has now been acknowledged by an ex RAW official R.K. Yadav that the hijackers posing as Kashmiri militants were in fact Indian agents.

The author shows his bigotry when he suggests that the actions of the Pakistani criminals he met were representative of the Pakistani society at large. He quotes a fellow Indian prisoner Sohan Lal as claiming that "of all the countries of Asia, homosexuality is most prevalent in Pakistan." At another place in the book, the author talks about General Yahya Khan's mistress "General Rani" and says "woe to the country whose rulers and husbands can be so perverse".

Upon his return to India as part of prisoner exchange after Simla Agreement, Bhaskar talks about how hard it was for him to find a job. He is particularly bitter about how little his government cared for him and his fellow spies who gave the most productive years of their lives in service of their country. Bhaskar is particularly incensed by the response of Prime Minister Morarji Desai whom he asked for help. He recalls Desai telling him: " Why should we suffer for your mistakes committed in Pakistan. Do you mean to say that if Pakistan had kept you in jail for twenty years then our government should compensate you for the same number of years?" It's a chilling message to  all Indian spies undertaking dangerous undercover missions in other countries.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan? 

1971 India-Pakistan War

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Indian Agent Kubhushan Yadav's Confession

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?

Ex India Spy Documents Successful RAW Ops in Pakistan

London Police Document Confirms MQM-RAW Connection Testimony

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ajit Doval Lecture on "How to Tackle Pakistan" 

7 comments:

Mani said...

wonder, how many RAW agents are operating in Tamilnadu (TN) or lurking in PDF or enrolled in TN/Pakistan universities ?

He Was India's Biggest Mole In Pakistan. Here's What Happened To Him When His Cover Was Blown


1. A thrilling beginning.
It was in 1975 when Kaushik was first recruited by RAW. The 23-year old theatre artist from Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, was put through two years of extensive training before being sent to Pakistan as India’s undercover agent. Part of his training included learning Urdu and getting acquainted with everything that Pakistan’s made of.

2. A new religious identity.
A lot more than just his name was changed. Not only was Kaushik rechristened to Nabi Ahmed Shakir, but was even circumcised so that he could play his role as a Pakistani Muslim to perfection.

3. A new life.
After successful enrollment in Karachi University, Kaushik completed his law and went on to join the Pakistani Army. A commissioned officer at first, Kaushik was soon promoted to the rank of Major. Also, Kaushik’s conversion to Islam earned him a family of his own. He married a local girl named Amanat, with whom he fathered a son.

4. A title of honour.
Passing on confidential information to RAW during the period of 1979 to 1983 proved extremely valuable for the Indian defense forces and gave Kaushik the title of ‘Black Tiger’.

5. A tragic aftermath.
Kaushik's cover was blown in 1983 when Inyat Masiha – an Indian agent sent to get in touch with him – revealed his true identity to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. Captured and tortured for two years straight at the Sialkot interrogation facility, Kaushik was then housed in Mianwali jail for sixteen years, where he finally succumbed to heart disease and pulmonary tuberculosis.

Kaushik often wrote home – his Indian home – describing the traumatic conditions in which he was held captive:

"Kya Bharat jaise bade desh ke liye kurbani dene waalon ko yahi milta hai?"

After his death, Kaushik’s family left no stone unturned in trying to get the respect their son deserved. However, all they received was a monthly pension of Rs. 500 from the Indian Government.

Riaz Haq said...

#India being disingenuous, #SushmaSwaraj being melodramatic about #KulbhushanJadhav meeting with his wife, mother in #Islamabad #Pakistan

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/kulbhushan-jadhav-case-india-pakistan-relations-icj-i-spy-you-spy-5002907/


The current Indian NSA, Ajit Doval, doesn’t look like either Rahab (in Bible Old Testament) or (James) Bond but I am certain he wasn’t just lurking around Data Durbar in Lahore during his seven years in Pakistan, by his own admission, if I might add.

If Angela Merkel can find the National Security Agency infiltrating her BlackBerry, it would need a special kind of schmuck to think that India and Pakistan do not spy on each other or that while Pakistan is a villainous state, India is a member of The Religious Sisters of Mercy. That doesn’t take the conversation anywhere.

So, how should the conversation go? Perhaps one can begin with Doval’s own hard-nosed offensive realism. Personally, I like that because it eschews the sweet-mouthed nothingnesses of Track 2 and throws us into the deep end in Balochistan where, incidentally, we found Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, or is it Hussain Mubarak Patel.

He is not the only one in Pakistan’s custody. There are others, too, being tried or sentenced on charges of spying. But Jadhav is the only one for whom India has invoked the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Clearly, he means a lot to India.


---------

In the ’90s, India and Pakistan would, with some regularity, charge some staff in the respective missions as spies (undercover postings) and declare them persona non grata. As with all things India and Pakistan, there was reciprocity. The irony is that once both sides managed to PNG all the “eyes” from their respective missions, they were left largely blind. Such is the nature of the game that you need yours over there so you have to tolerate theirs over here. At that point, the entire situation looks like the abusive marriage between Martha and George in Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

The Jadhav episode has to be seen at two levels. One, his activities were in line with India’s Modi-Doval policy of waging covert, sub-conventional war against Pakistan, using and exploiting the latter’s faultlines to get a force-multiplier effect. Two, there’s reason for Pakistan to give a high-profile treatment to the Jadhav case: India is no babe in the woods when it comes to “terrorism”.

That Jadhav is important for India is a no-brainer and can be evidenced by New Delhi approaching the ICJ. According to Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, there was also a proposal for a swap: “The terrorist who killed children in APS [Army Public School] in Peshawar is in Afghan custody. The National Security Adviser [NSA] told me that we can exchange that terrorist with the terrorist you have, which is Kulbhushan Jadhav.” He was speaking at the Asia Society in New York in September this year.

----

By Jadhav’s own account, after he revealed his identity and rank, he was treated with the protocol given an officer. Of course, India has alleged that his confession has been coerced. There’s nothing surprising about that statement. It was a good gesture to get him to meet his wife and mother. The media spectacle should have been avoided, given the unprofessional enthusiasm of TV channels in the Subcontinent. The MEA statement, however, was disingenuous about change of clothes and withdrawal of certain other items because that is standard operating procedure to ensure the visitors are not carrying, wittingly or unwittingly, any relaying devices.

Predictably, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the MEA statement. Swaraj’s somewhat melodramatic statement to the Indian Parliament hasn’t helped either and a gesture that could have improved the situation has ended up generating another spat.

But specifics aside, here’s the corollary: How this will unfold hereon will depend on how matters are worked out away from the media’s gaze. If there’s enough give, there will be a take. If not, well, pass me on that toast.

Riaz Haq said...

77-year-old Kashmir Singh’s family had little help during his 35 years in a Pakistan jail

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/will-do-it-all-again-says-punjab-spy-who-came-in-from-the-cold/article22482714.ece?utm_source=email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter

Kashmir Singh is no ordinary man. For nearly 35 years he was imprisoned in Pakistan, accused of spying for India. Never once, during his incarceration, through all the torture he underwent, did Mr. Singh admit to spying.

Never once has the Government of India acknowledged he had spied for this country.

He received a rousing welcome when he came back in 2008, and shocked everybody when he later declared that he had indeed spied for the country, having been trained and deployed by the military intelligence (MI).

And at 77, Kashmir Singh is ready to do it all again.

Clad in a typical kurta-pyjama and a green turban, Mr. Singh told The Hindu, “I am still ready to serve my motherland. Even if they [the Government of India] do not accept the fact that I worked for them, it doesn't matter. I don’t regret serving my country.”

When his wife Paramjit Kaur points out that the government wanted nothing to do with him and washed its hands of the family after Pakistan arrested him in 1973, Mr. Singh snubs her.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Singh’s family didn’t know much about his work since he did not speak about it; a certificate produced later in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by his wife, procured from the Army headquarters, Jalandhar Cantonment merely stated that, “Mr. Kashmira Singh served the government from June 1968 to May 1970.”

“He used to tell us that he worked for the Army and had to travel often. ‘If I do not return, the Army will take care of the family,’ he would often say to assure me,” recalls Ms. Paramjit.

Mr. Singh says he remembers most of his assignments across the border. “I was approached by a recruiter of the Army intelligence. I was asked if I was willing to go to Pakistan. I readily accepted the offer.”

Then, I was given a three months training, primarily in photography, at Jalandhar. As a part of my training I clicked pictures in and around Jalandhar Cantonment and at strategic locations in Amritsar,” Mr. Singh says.

His knowledge of Urdu was a definite advantage. He was also trained to identify military vehicles and strategic installations. “Based on my performance, I was selected to go to Pakistan,” he says. He was given a Muslim alias – Mohammed Ibrahim. And the last thing the MI did was to have Kashmir Singh circumcised.

Trained to watch
He was paid salary of ₹480 every month by the MI, which he says was documented but neither he nor the family have any papers to show. “I regularly received the salary for over two years before I was caught. I was also given a daily allowance of ₹150, whenever I went to Pakistan,” he says.

“The first time went, I was handed over an imported foreign brand mini, 22-(reel) frame camera and was told by the recruiter that my job was to collect information regarding the number of local army units close to the border on the Pakistani side and the nature of work performed by these units. Clicking pictures of these units was vital part of my job,” he says.

He recalls that on his debut, he was escorted by officials of the agency to the Indo-Pak border near Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district, from where he crossed over to Pakistan early one morning in 1969. in the wee hours of the night in an early month of 1969.

Mr Singh refused to divulge further details about who controlled the operations and also denied any involvement in subversive activities.

“After my first successful visit to Kahna Kacha in Lahore, my confidence grew and subsequently. On this trip I was assigned to take pictures of strategic installations in Lahore, Multan, Bhawalpur and Sahiwal. Following this, I made over 50 trips to Pakistan. I would visit Pakistan, click pictures and return usually within seven to ten days. I once clicked pictures of the T-59 tanks, which Pakistan had procured from China,” he says.

Riaz Haq said...

77-year-old Kashmir Singh’s family had little help during his 35 years in a Pakistan jail

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/will-do-it-all-again-says-punjab-spy-who-came-in-from-the-cold/article22482714.ece?utm_source=email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter


Sharing a few details of the nature of his job and the manner in which he performed it, Mr. Singh said he would usually take a room on rent in a guest house in Lahore and travel to other places by bus. “I had a good grasp of their language, dialect and customs. Hence, I never had any trouble, until that fateful day when I was arrested,” he recalls.

Describing the sequence of events, Mr. Singh says he was arrested remembers how he had been arrested. It was near the 22nd Milestone on the Peshawar-Rawalpindi road. He was on his way to Lahore after taking some pictures in Peshawar for his handlers. The following day he was to return to India.

It would be 35 years before he eventually came home.

He had boarded the bus with a man who was supposed to be his guide. But immediately he sensed something odd about his fellow traveller — maybe it was the way he had been fidgety. So when the bus slowed down for no reason at all before its scheduled stop, a sixth sense told him to get rid of the camera.

At the 22nd milestone, Pakistani intelligence officers had stopped the bus. They came straight for Kashmir Singh and his colleague and took them away. They didn’t ask them any questions — just whisked them away. Mr. Singh’s cover had been blown by his colleague who later testified against him in an Pakistan army court.

Mr. Singh languished in several Pakistani jails before being spotted by Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney, who took up his case with the government of Pakistan and secured his release on humanitarian grounds in March 2008. Mr. Singh claimed that there were about 35 or 36 others Indians at that time who faced similar cases of espionage, languishing in Lahore Central jail.

Mr. J.C. Bhardwaj, a close family friend of Mr. Singh's, who took up the case of his release with both the Indian and Pakistani governments, says the then Pakistan President Parvez Musharaf had accepted the mercy petition and ordered his release and repatriation.

Ignored by Delhi
The Indian government has never acknowledged or recognised that Mr. Singh spied for them. Mr. Singh's younger son, Sishpal, who secured a job in Punjab government on sympathetic ground in 2009, says a series of documents that were found in the house after his father's arrest indicated that he worked for Indian Army. “Some documents revealed that he was associated with the Punjab Police as well, which he had joined in Amritsar in 1971 but soon after he went on leave,” he adds.

When her husband had been arrested for spying, Paramjit Kaur, was left alone with their three children — two sons then aged eight and four and a one-and-half-year-old daughter — to look after. The family faced hardship with little or no support from the government or the authorities except the meagre amount that she received for couple of years as Mr. Singh’s remuneration.

“After his arrest, I kept receiving ₹300 per month from the Army for nearly two years and later was paid ₹5000 in cash but after that no monetary help was given by the Indian government,” recalls Ms Paramjit.

For years, she worked as a maid to feed her three children. “The Government of India deserted us when we needed them the most,” she says.

Ms Paramjit, however, is all praise for the then Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who in 2008-09 sanctioned a monthly pension of ₹10,000 to the family and gave a job to their son. Besides, financial help was also extended by the Punjab government and by few other organisations, she adds.

Riaz Haq said...


Story of Madhuri Gupta: A Diplomat Who Turned ‘Spy’ For Pakistan

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/madhuri-gupta-spy-for-pakistan-espionage-case


Now, eight years later, on Thursday, 26 April a Delhi court will again hear the espionage case against Madhuri.

If you are wondering who is Madhuri Gupta, here are nine things you’d want to know about her and the case.

1. Initial Investigation A Closely Guarded Secret
When initial investigation by IB “signalled” that Madhuri Gupta was a “spy”, the then Bureau head Rajiv Mathur informed R&AW chief KC Verma, and Home Secretary GK Pillai. But the investigators had reportedly not given a clear picture about the extent of classified information passed on to Pakistan, or if Gupta had other accomplices within the High Commission.

The three-member committee ruled out immediate arrest and agreed to continue surveillance for another two-three week period in March 2010. According to The Caravan, Gupta was false-fed information through various channels she had access to, and the movement of information was tracked. When the leak happened, it would reportedly be traced back to her.

According to the magazine, no one knew of the investigation except a select few in India, and no one was to be informed in Pakistan.

2. A Planned Arrest & A Mock that Followed
Gupta was summoned to Delhi, on the pretext of assisting in organising media relations for a SAARC summit that was to be held in Bhutan later in 2010. She landed in Delhi on 21 April, and reportedly spent the night at her home in West Delhi.

On 22 April, she arrived in the MEA office in South Block and was scheduled to attend a meeting with the then additional secretary Ashok Tomar.

It was then that a call was placed to Special Cell of Delhi Police, who had been informed of the case earlier. Gupta, a Grade B Indian Foreign Service Officer was arrested for passing sensitive information to agents of Pakistan intelligence.

“What took you so long to get me?” she reportedly mocked the investigating officers, on arrest.
3. R&AW Station Chief in Pak Revealed
What followed Gupta’s arrest, unsurprisingly, was media frenzy. But among all the “sensational revelations”, came a grave accusation. According to the Caravan, news reports, quoting “official sources”, claimed that R&AW Station Chief in Islamabad RK Sharma was under the scanner. Reports also allegedly revealed that RK Sharma was posted as a counsellor at the High Commission.

With that, the name and designation of India’s top intelligence official in Pakistan was revealed.

As The Caravan reported:

Sharma’s official cover in Islamabad had been blown by his own country, a move that seemed certain to damage R&AW operations in Pakistan and bring his assignment to a swift and ignominious end.
4. Trial Started Two Years Later
Madhuri Gupta went to trial 2012, almost two years after she was first arrested by the cops. She was jailed jailed until January 2012, and was formally charged with violating two sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) of 1923. The OSA offences she had been booked under carried a maximum three-year sentence. Having reportedly served 21 months in Tihar Jail in Delhi, waiting for her trial, she was released on bail.

However, the Delhi High Court charged Gupta under the stringent provisions of the Official Secrets Act which entailed a maximum punishment of up to 14 years, setting aside the punishment provided by trial court.

5. Madhuri Gupta Readily Shared Information With Investigators
The investigating officer in the case Pankaj Sood, speaking to The Caravan reportedly said that Gupta was cooperative and “willingly” disclosed details of her email account – and allegedly even agreed that she passed information to Pakistan agents.

The chargesheet filed in the case in 2010, reportedly revealed that 73 emails were exchanged and recovered from the email account atlastrao@gmail.com, reportedly used by Gupta.

Riaz Haq said...

Story of Madhuri Gupta: A Diplomat Who Turned ‘Spy’ For Pakistan

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/madhuri-gupta-spy-for-pakistan-espionage-case


5. Madhuri Gupta Readily Shared Information With Investigators
The investigating officer in the case Pankaj Sood, speaking to The Caravan reportedly said that Gupta was cooperative and “willingly” disclosed details of her email account – and allegedly even agreed that she passed information to Pakistan agents.

The chargesheet filed in the case in 2010, reportedly revealed that 73 emails were exchanged and recovered from the email account atlastrao@gmail.com, reportedly used by Gupta.

Speaking to The Caravan, the investigating officer said:

She had blown the covers of all the Indian intelligence officials in Pakistan, disclosed biographical details for every employee at the High Commission, and also mentioned the existence of “some secret routes to India.
6. Love Lured Her Into Sharing Information?
The chargesheet reportedly noted that Gupta was an asset to her handlers, and her motivation, according to the prosecution, was love.

“They threw a young man at her and she got trapped.The main thing is, she was caught in a honeytrap. That’s it”, Pankaj Sood reportedly said.
Jamshed alias Jim, one of the two handlers was a younger man, about 30 years of age. He was reportedly tasked with romancing the older woman, and obtaining information.

7. Gupta Served in MEA For 27 Years
In the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), where she was posted for 27 years, Gupta was known for her scholarship of Urdu literature. Her colleagues in the ministry reportedly believed she has a certain “intellectual acuity”, and demonstrated keen interest in Sufism.

Gupta had begun doctoral work on Jalaluddin Rumi, the Persian Sufi poet, reported Outlook. However, for reasons unknown, she could not complete her PhD.

Prior to Pakistan, she served in Iraq, Liberia, Malaysia and Croatia.

8. Urdu Knowledge Sent Her to Pakistan
Gupta’s knowledge of Urdu was one of the primary reasons for her assignment in Islamabad. Her main task was to reportedly scan the Pakistani media and make two daily dossiers interpreting the developments of the Urdu press.

Within six months of the posting, however, she was allegedly put under the scanner.

9. Gupta Was Vying A Moscow Posting, But Was Turned Down
When she joined service at the MEA in 1980s, she was vying for a post in Moscow. Her then “mentor” who was also posted in the Russian capital was reportedly keen to have her there.

However, the MEA was apprehensive and did not switch the posting as she was working with the Soviet Information Centre prior to joining the services.

(With inputs from the Caravan, Outlook)

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Top Court Awards Rs 50 Lakhs Compensation To Former #ISRO #Scientist Nambi Narayanan who was arrested in 1994 by #Kerala police on false charge of #espionage for #Pakistan.
https://tli.news/2MC2kJS via @logicalindians

Narayanan sought action against the Police officials for falsely framing him and his colleagues in the ISRO spy scandal after he was cleared of all charges by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Supreme Court. He approached the Supreme Court in 2015, seeking criminal and disciplinary action against Kerala police officials led by Siby Mathew. The bench, constituted by Chief Justice Deepak Mishra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, set up a committee headed by former Judges to look into the matter and “find out ways and means to take appropriate steps against the erring” police personnel who framed Nambi Narayanan.


The ISRO spy case first surfaced in 1994, in which Narayanan and his colleague D Sasi Kumar were arrested on charges of handing over India’s indigenous space technology to Pakistan with the help of two Maldivian women according to Firstpost. They spent 50 days in jail in the case. The police arrested the two Maldivian Women who overstayed their visas in India – Mariam Rasheeda and Fousiya Hassan. The Kerala Police alleged that Narayanan and his colleague were involved in the spying in ISRO and leaking of sensitive documents related to rocket technology to Pakistan.

CBI and SC acquitted the case in 1996
The CBI cleared them from the case in 1995. In its report, CBI stated that “the evidence collected indicated that the allegations of espionage against the scientists at ISRO, including the appellant herein, were not proved and were found to be false”. The Supreme Court accepted the report and acquitted them in the case in 1996 as reported in The Indian Express.

“Investigate the actions of Police officers.”
Nambi Narayanan while speaking to The Indian Express said that he was partly satisfied with the order and he is happy that he has got compensation, he said “I had been pressing for the CBI to investigate the actions of the police officers who fabricated the so-called ISRO spy case. The Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has set up a committee for the purpose but not stipulated any deadline for it. I do not want it to be another open-ended inquiry which will take years to fix responsibility.”