|File photo of RK Singh|
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Former Indian home secretary: Home Minister lied about fugitive
NEW DELHI (AA) - Retired federal Home Secretary R.K. Singh accused his former boss, federal Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, on Tuesday of lying about a US promise of help to bring fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim to India.
Singh, who joined the right-wing BJP last week, bitterly criticized Shinde’s claims that the American attorney general had promised that the FBI would help bring Ibrahim to book. Singh also claimed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was aware of Shinde’s actions.
Ibrahim has been designated a terrorist by both India and the United States. He is wanted in India in a series of cases -- most prominently a series of 13 terrorist explosions in Mumbai in 1993. The attacks killed 350 people and injured 1,200 others.
India alleges that Ibrahim has been given shelter in neighboring Pakistan, a charge denied by the latter.
"Even if an agency belonging to another country agrees to help us in a mission on a third country's soil, this should not be made public.
"The FBI has made no such commitment, at least as long as I was there. Dawood is in Pakistan, under ISI’s protection and to say he will be arrested with the help of FBI is ridiculous," said Singh.
Singh, who retired in June as federal home secretary, has made a series of allegations against Shinde, including that he protected a Mumbai businessman allegedly linked to Ibrahim, interferred in police work, and took money for police postings.
Singh’s comments to the media on Tuesday sparked a political row between India’s ruling Congress party and the BJP, the main opposition party.
"Shinde prevented Delhi Police from interrogating a businessman in the IPL (Indian Premier League) match fixing case. Agencies suspect this businessman has links with underworld don Dawood. There is even no assurance from FBI on Dawood, I was present at that conference with Shinde, he is lying," Singh told a private news channel.
The staff at Shinde’s residence would regularly send chits with names of people who should be posted as SHOs (Station House Officers) and I heard this was done in lieu of money," he alleged.
Congress has reacted strongly to the allegations of the former bureaucrat terming it as a "shocking opportunism" of "poll season" instead of complaining to the higher authorities.
A senior Congress politician told Anadolu Agency that the nature and timing of the allegations are part of the BJP’s "dirty-tricks" department.
"Why did Singh keep quiet as a home secretary when he was aware of the alleged wrongdoing? He is guilty of connivance," the Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh reacted strongly saying the diplomat-turned-politician wanted a "post-retirement position" of power.
"Is it not a fact that he tried to get a post-retirement position from the UPA (United Progressive Alliance)? Is it not a fact that he approached (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar for a position?" Singh said.
The BJP demanded a complete probe into the allegations of the former diplomat saying the home minister should be sacked immediately.
"If Mr Shinde is found to have intervened in the match-fixing probe, he needs to be sacked immediately," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior BJP leader.
Former top police officer Kiran Bedi, who endorsed BJP’s candidate for prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday, questioned the motive of Singh’s allegations.
"What did you do as the Home Secretary? Did you tell the PM (Prime Minister) of the unlawful instructions? If not then you’re at fault. If you get any unlawful orders complain to the higher officials. Don’t say things after retiring," said Bedi, a prominent social activist.
Singh’s allegation comes after Shinde on January 9 said that the Indian government was working along with the US domestic law enforcement agency FBI in bringing India’s most wanted fugitive terrorist Ibrahim to India.
"Efforts are on to track Dawood. We are in talks with the FBI," Shinde had said while touring Solapur town in western state of Maharashtra.
Under Shinde’s tenure as home minister, India has successfully brought a number of terror suspects from abroad.
Singh’s political ambition became clear when he joined the right-wing BJP last week fuelling the speculation that he may contest the May 2014 national election from northern state of Bihar.
Anadolu Agency, January 14, 2014