People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 06, 2006
Country Needs To Know The Truth
A WILD disclosure has been made by the BJP leader, Jaswant Singh, that there was a `mole’ in the prime minister’s office in 1995 to supply information on Indian security matters to the USA. In his book “A Call to Honour” on page 125, he refers to a letter received by former US Ambassador to India, Harry Barnes, purportedly sent by US Senator, Thomas Graham. This letter, according to Singh, explicitly hints at a mole in the PMO. Before quoting this letter in full, the book says, “Not wishing to employ it in any fashion, all these years, I have done nothing with this letter. I now share a part of its content”.
On specifically being asked in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh failed to give any answer to the following three questions: a) who was the mole; b) why was Singh silent all these eleven years, particularly when during this period he served on the union cabinet as a minister for defence, external affairs and finance; c) whether he chose to remain silent during the Vajpayee government period since he did not want to offend the USA and thus, adversely affect the NDA government’s cosying up to US imperialism?
A day after the startling debate in the parliament and the controversy raging in the media comes a disclosure (The Indian Express, August 2, 2006) that Harry Barnes has denied having anything to do with what Singh claims and does not remember having received any such document. This puts the very existence of such a letter in serious doubt. Some others, citing the language and construction of the letter doubt its veracity and authencity. If this is true, then Jaswant Singh is guilty of misleading the House and liable to face a privilege motion. The notice for this has already been given in the Rajya Sabha.
This and other revelations made in the book are of a very serious nature casting grave doubts on the entire set-up of security and secrecy in our country. These merit an impassioned consideration and discussion. However, if wild charges like this are hurled without any substantiation, then nobody can fault drawing a conclusion that Singh’s objective was sensationalisation more than any concern for the affairs of our country. If sensationalism was the objective, then this must be the first instance in independent India’s history that the parliament itself has been used as a forum to promote the sale of a book!
There are, however, more serious issues involved. For a major part of these eleven years since 1995, Jaswant Singh has been holding public office and hence is a public servant, as per the judgements delivered by the Supreme Court on various cases. His refusal to part with this information, as a public servant, invokes section 119 and at least a dozen other sections of the Indian Penal Code. Clearly, Singh has violated the law of the land by choosing not to part with information, being in his position of holding public office, that vitally affects the country’s interests.
Worse is the fact that the BJP is now trying to use these so-called wild charges being hurled as evidence that shows up the Indian security establishment in a poor light. Notwithstanding the fact that for six of these years, it was the BJP-led government that was in the helm of affairs, these charges need to be investigated by the present government to at least establish the motives which prompted Singh to take recourse to hurling such allegations.
The country needs to know the truth. Nobody can be above law. If Jaswant Singh has violated the law of the land by publicly admitting that he voluntarily refused to part with such information that really threatens the country’s interests, then the law must proceed to take its course.