Former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer had recently made explosive allegations. He had alleged that former Vice President Hamid Ansari who has served as Indian Ambassador to Iran between 1990-92, endangered the lives of RAW officers in Tehran and even ended up exposing the RAW set-up in Tehran. Journalist Chiranjeevi Bhat conducted an interview with Former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer NK Sood who made further revelations about his time in Iran, Hamid Ansari and the vilified scientist Nambi Narayanan.
Following are the questions and excerpts of his answers.
You have made some allegations against former Vice President Hamid Ansari. When did you first suspect that he was indulging in ‘anti-national activities’?
It is the duty of a diplomat to act on behalf of the Country. He is supposed to protect the officials working in that location and ensure their security. Think, how can Indian officers get kidnapped? How do they get imprisoned? If it has happened, where should the complaint be lodged? Whose duty is that? What do you consider Ansari who did nothing?
What was the response of Hamid Ansari when the kidnappings happened?
Let us take the first case, the kidnapping of Sandip Kapoor from the airport. Hamid Ansari did not bother for 3 days after the incident. He washed his hands writing a note to the foreign office saying Kapoor was involved in ‘anti-national activities’.
Even when the second person was kidnapped, he did nothing. He wrote a missing complaint and sat on it. Finally, I informed my friend RK Yadav who was stationed in India, who then took up the matter with Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee informed PV Narasimha Rao, and they were released only after a call from him. I remember that scene, after putting pressure from the Indian government he himself got Mr Kapoor to the embassy at 2 AM. Why? Only because he was charged up by PVN Rao government.
Did Congress have a role in these wrong-doings?
Before I answer that, let me relate an interesting incident. Hamid Ansari was well connected not just in Iran but also in India. P Chidambaram’s favourite Secretary KC Varma was nominated as the Chief of RAW. Can you believe this? Is some random minister’s secretary becoming RAW chief? Remember RAW is a very serious and critical wing. There are prescribed eligibilities and qualifications to become its chief. It is not a cinema where some PS or PA come one fine morning and take over as its chief.
You are accusing the Former Vice President. Are you worried about the consequences?
Why should I care? I don’t want anyone’s permission to speak the truth. I have placed it to the world directly.
You could have exposed it then. Why are you doing it now?
I said this at that time as well. I had gone through the proper channels and procedures, which a serving Government officer is supposed to. No one bothered to consider it. But the truth had to be told and hence nothing wrong in doing it now.
There is nothing wrong, but there is an argument that you are doing it to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval.
I respect Indira Gandhi just as much too. No one ruled this country like her. Prime Minister Modi is making efforts to unite everyone. I respect him for that. How long will one keep peddling the narrative that Hamid Ansari was a great person? Does it befit someone who was Vice President for two terms to seek Sharia Law? Have you heard any Vice President who joins hands with an organization like PFI and say that he is ashamed to be an Indian? This is the reason why I wanted to expose his true face and I am trying to do it now.
You know how the ecosystem works. If you say you are exposing him for these reasons, there are several people who might say your reasons are ‘communal’ or religion-based.
Let them say what they want to say. I would have forgiven Ansari, but when he turned into a habitual offender, I had to show the world his real face. I will definitely expose this person, who enjoyed everything at Nation’s cost and after being fed well, only to come back to my country and utter nonsense like “I am ashamed to be called an Indian”. I don’t care. I will answer anything that I have to face.
Many say that Hamid Ansari has ‘anti-Hindu’ sentiments. Do you agree?
I don’t know about that. Once he even targeted Mohammed, an Indian, who was working in Iran. He was security personnel in Iran. He made up a story against him and sent him back with a note that he shouldn’t be given foreign postings. But wherever Hamid Ansari worked, he has harmed Indians and Indian Muslims too. Don’t know about his anti-Hindu ‘leanings’. But it is clear and evident now that his loyalty is elsewhere. I don’t wish to say that explicitly.
Who else is with Hamid Ansari?
Ratan Sehgal. There is yet another interesting fact. You must have heard of Nambi Narayanan. He was accused of espionage and the Supreme Court had found the allegations against him false. He was proven innocent. But no one knew who fixed him up in that case. It was the handiwork of Ratan Sehgal to deliberately fix the Scientist and accuse him of espionage, done just to spoil India’s image in international level. The fact is that Ratan was caught spying against India for CIA when he was in Intelligence Bureau and is now happily settled in the USA. He is very close to Hamid Ansari and used to even scare us. He used to give instructions to us.
What is the opinion of India amongst Iranians?
Iranians really admire Indians. Especially they are fond of Hindus. They still wear the same kind of attires that we wear, practice Indian dance forms in their homes. There have been no instances of attacks on Indian officers either before Ansari’s tenure or after he left. Ever since Modi became the Prime Minister, they share a brotherly relationship.
Has Hamid Ansari ever conspired against you?
We all knew the kind of person he was. We were fed up of his ‘don’t-care attitude’ when officers went missing. Many officers’ wives including mine sought appointments to meet him in his office and sat in protest in front of his office. They were not allowed to meet him for a long time.
A couple of officers’ wives went inside and found him casually reading the newspaper. They sought justice and he casually dismissed them saying “I will look into it.” Subsequently, he issued a notice to all officers saying their wives misbehaved with him. Then I went up to him and said, though my wife came, she never met you. Tell me what, where, and how did she do anything that you have issued a notice for. In response, Ansari just stayed silent. Every moment of his tenure there was torture for every officer.
How can you say that he set out to finish RAW in the Gulf region?
Hamid Ansari and Ratan Sehgal colluded with each other, met our diplomats posted in Muslim countries and went about transferring us and sabotaging our operations. The result was similar to whatever happens when you transfer top investigating officers in the Police department. Even when Iranians resorted to kidnapping, torture, injecting drugs to extract the truth, he never took any steps. What does that indicate?
How were the Indian Politicians, Official and Diplomats following Ansari’s orders?
Hamid Ansari was an expert in playing with emotions. Whenever Ansari visited India, he used to bring special gifts, dry fruits from Iran to offer it to staff and officers in the Prime Minister’s office. It is natural for the recipients of these gifts to develop a good opinion. Also, since he was not in front of them all the time, nobody would know the cruel face of him. It was assumed he was a nice person. He used to use and misuse this to achieve his goals.