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Dilli Ka Babu: Leaking at the top

Published Jan 4, 2015, 12:54 pm IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 2:53 am IST
Mr Doval’s missives have set alarm bells ringing
National Security Advisor for India Ajit Doval (Photo: Video grab)
 National Security Advisor for India Ajit Doval (Photo: Video grab)

The ship of state is the only ship that leaks from the top, a wise man said. And for the Modi sarkar — obsessed with national security and extremely careful about regulating the flow of information — a series of leaks about breach of security laws (the irony!) is deeply embarrassing.

Recently, classified documents about India’s nuclear submarine were aired in the media, leading national security adviser Ajit Doval to fire off several memos across the higher echelons expressing concern over the leaks and warning of stern action against those found responsible.


Mr Doval’s missives have set alarm bells ringing. Recently the Cabinet Secretariat directed Union home secretary Anil Goswami to ensure compliance of the national security adviser’s instructions and ensure that the information that can undermine the national security remains under wraps.

Of course, governments often themselves find it convenient to leak information it wants to put out in a selective manner. But obviously those are not the kind that Mr Doval has in mind.

Another Khemka?

Change of government has meant little to babus in Haryana, who survived the previous Bhupinder Singh Hooda regime. His term will long be known for his tussle with “dissident” officials like Ashok Khemka and Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who had tried to toe an independent line. But it now appears that the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, too, is following the path of its predecessor.

Babu circles are buzzing over the abrupt transfer of senior Indian Administrative Service officer and Gurgaon’s divisional commissioner Pradeep Kasni barely a month after he was appointed to the post. Sources say that babus believe that Mr Kasni was moved out because he prepared a report that talked about a nexus between several revenue officials in the state and some highly powerful land-grabbers.

Though the official line is that Mr Kasni’s transfer was ordered for “strictly administrative reasons’, he has not been given a new assignment and some of the babus fear that he could well become ano-ther Khemka, if he continues to act “independently”.

Despondent diplomats

With PMO holding the reins of most of what moves in Modi sarkar, it’s not just minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj who may be a bit at sea. The diplomatic corps too is beginning to feel left out in talks with foreign delegations. Apparently, the IFS officers feel strongly enough to have reportedly raised the matter with foreign secretary Sujatha Singh.

Apparently, the ministry of external affairs is miffed at being kept out of a meeting with a US delegation during the climate talks in Lima, Peru. But there have been other instances too.

Though the media has often meditated on the role (or the lack of it) of Ms Swaraj in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy, the predicament of the IFS officers has not come out. Now with US President Barack Obama visiting New Delhi for the Republic Day celebrations, it’s obvious that the MEA officials are keen to have a slice of the action. The buzz is that India’s ambassador to the US Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who is on the verge of retirement, may be recalled to play foreign policy adviser to Mr Modi, further beefing up the already mighty PMO.

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