Mainstream, VOL LII, No 24, June 7, 2014
Social Activist’s Plea to the PM
Monday 9 June 2014
I, Dr Nutan Thakur, a social activist working in the field of transparency and accountability in public life present here a few facts brought through a Lucknow-based Hindi daily Nishpaksh Pratidin which are prima facie extremely detrimental and damaging against Sri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, recently appointed through the ordinance way, alleging him to be a CIA agent.
As per the news article “Dagiyon ke acche dinon ki shuruwat: CIA agent hone ke aaropi Nripendra Mishra bane pradhanmantri ke pramukh sachiv” dated 29/05/2014 (copy being attached), in the year 1992, very serious allegations of being a CIA agent was levelled on Sri Mishra, then working as the Principal Secretary to the UP Chief Minister, Sri Kalyan Singh. Sri Mishra was alleged to have made many unaccounted and unofficial journeys in a completely discreet and unrecorded manner at various places of Uttar Pradesh along with Ms Robin Raphel, the then Counsellor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, India.
As per the news article, on 16/01/1992 Sri Mishra accompanied Ms Raphel in the US embassy car No DC 77. The two travelled together from New Delhi to Khurja in Bulandshahr, where they shopped at Daud potteries and from there he came back to Delhi and stayed in Room No 10 of the UP Niwas.
Later on 07/04/1992, Sri Mishra accompanied another US diplomat in the political wing of the US Embassy, Mr Don Mojeja, to the disputed site in Ayodhya. It was the same date on which the Joint Parliamentary Team and the National Integration Council also visited Ayodhya. Mr Mojeja stayed at room No 604 of Hotel Clark Awadh in Lucknow. Mr Mojeja also attended a dinner organised at Sri Mishra’s residence. As per the news article, Sri Mishra tried a meeting between Mr Mojeja and Sri Kalyan Singh on 08/04/1992 but it could not actually materialise. Mr Mojeja was again taken by Sri Mishra to Ayodhya on 09/04/1992.
On 10/04/1992, Sri Mishra once again accompanied Ms Robin Raphel to Varanasi and Bhadohi, for which the Mercedes car of Sri Nanhe Khan, a carpet merchant from Bhadohi, was used. Both Ms Raphel and Sri Mishra stayed in Suit No S1 of the Varanasi Circuit house. During the two days stay, Sri Mishra took Ms Raphel to Sarnath and Bhadohi, where the two stayed in Sri Nanhe Khan’s guest house.
On 12/04/1992, Ms Raphel came back to Delhi from Bawatpur aiport, Varanasi while Sri Mishra came back to Lucknow in Sri Khan’s Mercedes car.
It is alleged in the news article that when the matter came in public light, a lot of hue and cry was made and even the then CBI Director, Sri S.K. Datta, had come to Lucknow to personally enquire into the matter. The Union Home Ministry had also started enquiring into the matter and had sought certain definite information from the Kalyan Singh Government.
During the enquiry, it had also come in light that in Sri Mishra’s house in the Bengali Market colony on Abul Fazl Road, Lucknow there was a regular influx of American diplomats. It was alleged that Sri Mishra had bought that house as a benami property for Rs 40 lakhs though officially he called it a rented house at Rs 3500 per month. It is said that after the matter came in light, the US embassy withdrew itself from the entire matter calling it a personal affair of a few diplomats. It is said that other than the IB, the RAW had also enquired into these episodes.
It is also said that the minutes of an extremely secret meeting sometime in May 1992, chaired by Sri Kalyan Singh himself, got leaked regarding which Sri Prakash Singh, then DGP, UP, had got an FIR registered in which the role of Sri Mishra was also under scrutiny. This had infuriated Sri Mishra to such an extent that he ensured Sri Prakash Singh’s removal from the post of DGP.
The facts presented by me in this letter are based primarily on the newspaper article mentioned above, but it can be easily understood that these facts, if true, are extremely damning and damaging.
There are two aspects related to these facts that become very important here—
1. Ms Robin Raphel’s history
2. The rules about the interaction of IAS officers with foreign nationals
The official biography of Ms Raphel, published by the US Department of State, when she was appointed the first Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs in August 1993 said among other things: “After leaving Iran in 1972, Ms Raphel returned to the US to study economics at the University of Maryland. After finishing her Masters of Arts degree, she first went to work for the federal government as an economic analyst at the CIA. From there she went to Islamabad, Pakistan, where she joined the Foreign Service and worked on detail to USAID as an economic/financial analyst” so that “from August 1991 until August 1993, Ms Raphel was the Counsellor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, India”. Thus it is very obvious that Ms Raphel had a previous association with the CIA in the very beginning of her carrier.
About her, Sri Ahmar Mustikhan, famous as Baloch Dalai Lama, founder of the American Friends of Balochistan, a prominent Journalist and columnist in many US news outlets, had said in an article dated 26/09/2009 titled ‘Lady Taliban Robin Raphel’s appointment raises concern’: “Robin Raphel, 67, who has the dubious distinction of being a lobbyist for the former military regime of General Pervez Musharraf and who also has close ties with the Taliban as part of her lobbying for UNOCAL, will be the main person overlooking the $ 1.5 billion aid package to Pakistan, giving rise to concerns the US taxpayers monies would go down the Pakistan drain” and “Raphel eventually became a lobbyist at Cassidy & Associates for the military administration of General Pervez Musharraf”. “She was responsible for the lobbying for Pakistan in the State Department as a registered foreign agent of Pakistan and the firm had a $1.2 million contract with the Government of Pakistan.”
Again. Ms Raphel, in the 1990s, irked India by describing Kashmir as “disputed territory”. At a White House briefing on April 11, 1995, Raphael was asked what the latest position of the Clinton Administration was on Kashmir. “Actually, our position has remained constant; the US position even before the Clinton Administration has remained constant,” she said. “We view the entire formal princely state of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory. In our view, India and Pakistan need to get together and have serious negotiations on how to resolve this dispute and other problems between them.”
On the other hand, the instructions regarding contact of members of the All India services with foreign national/missions is also being attached. These say that officers should exercise the utmost discretion in their contact with foreign correspondents, members of foreign missions/organisations and other foreign nationals in India. They should also avoid any conversation likely to reveal, even inadvertently, information on matters of secret nature. They should scrupulously avoid over-patronisation and indiscriminate and frequent acceptance of hospitality, particularly of an informal nature, from foreign nationals or Indian nationals employed by foreign missions. Similarly, all officers who accept or are permitted to accept invitations to social functions from foreign diplomats/representatives of foreign mission should report to their senior officers any conversation with diplomats/representative of foreign missions, on matter of interest and importance to Government, on such occasions.
Thus any personal contact, social gathering, informal meetings etc of an IAS officer with foreign diplomats like Ms Raphel are completely prohibited and would strictly come in the category of gross misconduct.
As per the news article, whatever interaction between Ms Raphel and Sri Mishra at that time was completely beyond the official channel and were not authorised at all, where there was exchange of gifts, sharing of cars, frequent interactions, staying together and visits to extremely disputed sites like Ayodhya.
The petitioner does not know about the exactness of the allegations made in this news article but if these allegations are true, it is a very serious matter and it makes Sri Mishra completely ineligible to hold such a sensitive post as that having been assigned to him. But the way so many facts and exact details have been presented in the news article make it clear that these allegations cannot be taken lightly and it is necessary to get the matter enquired.
In such circumstances, I immediately request as follows—
1. Kindly get all the matter as regards the various facts stated in the news article, if there are any such facts actually on record with the Ministry of Home Affairs, IB, RAW, State of Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister office, UP and/or any other possible agency presented personally before you immediately.
2. Kindly personally look into the facts and the matter to reach a definite conclusion.
3. Kindly get the matter further enquired if you feel there is a need to do so.
4. Kindly take a definite decision, including removing Sri Mishra from his post, if the facts enumerated above are found to be true because an officer who hobnobs with foreign diplomats in a secret manner, takes her to places in an informal manner, maintains unofficial relations with such women diplomats and uses personal hospitality of private persons like Sri Nanhe Khan for such personal, unofficial and illegal tour/programmes cannot be given the respon-sibility in the Prime Minister’s Office, particu-larly by a Prime Minister like you.
I sincerely request that the matter is extremely important and urgent and needs your personal attention, in the interest of the nation.
Dr Nutan Thakur
March 31, 2014
5/426, Viram Khand,
Gomti Nagar, Lucknow
1. Copy of the news article dated 29/05/2014 published in Nishpaksh Pratidin, Lucknow.
2. Instructions regarding contact of members of the All India services with foreign nationals/missions.