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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Name mole in Indira govt: CIC

Publication: Times of India Mumbai; Date: May 1, 2009; Section: Times Nation; Page: 14

Name mole in Indira govt: CIC
Asks MEA To Lift Veil Over 1971 Indo-Pak War Spy Case By May 6

Himanshi Dhawan | TNN
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the government to reveal the names of the alleged moles in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The decision came after Delhi-based Anuj Dhar sought details of leaks of information relating to national security by a CIA agent.

Information commissioner Annapurna Dixit has asked the ministry of external affairs (MEA) to provide information by May 6. The decision comes at a time when the CIC has chosen not to disclose the Henderson-Brooks report on the Sino-India war.

The infamous 1971 spy case created a furore after it came to light that a senior minister in the cabinet was allegedly leaking crucial information pertaining to cabinet meetings to America’s CIA. Journalist Seymour Hersh in 1983 in his book The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House alleged that late prime minister Morarji Desai had spied for the CIA setting off a major controversy and inviting strong reactions in India.

Dhar, author of the book, CIA’s Eye on South Asia, that compiles declassified CIA documents related to the case, had sought information on people who leaked information to the CIA.

These include records of a meeting between then external affairs minister Swaran Singh and then US secretary of state William Rodges on October 5, 1972, the names and details of people who were in touch with the CIA and leaked details of the proceedings of the Congress Working Committee, details of destroyed or missing records the MEA had on recurring allegations that a minister betrayed India during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Dhar also quoted articles written in the foreign press on US South Asia policy being guided by a “source close to Mrs Gandhi’’.

The ministry had earlier refused to disclose any material on the plea that the request for information or documents is based on reports of foreign governments, newspapers and books which the government does not take cognisance those are unsubstantiated reports.

The MEA added, “Authorities are under obligation to divulge records or information of only those events which have happened within 20 years of the request being made.’’

Dhar argued before the commission that the information was of great historical importance. He held that disclosure would be in public interest.

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