Did the Narasimha Rao government sanction Purulia arms drop?

The union government must come clean after Times Now expose

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | April 29, 2011


A TV grab of (from left) Peter Bleach, JK Dutt and Kim Davy
A TV grab of (from left) Peter Bleach, JK Dutt and Kim Davy

Sixteen years after the mysterious Purulia arms-drop case of 1995, which the successive union governments have kept under wraps, an investigation by Times Now television channel has made a sensational disclosure, which is yet to be verified, that it was an official operation sanctioned by the then Narasimha Rao government.

The disclosures are based on public declaration of the two prime accused, Kim Davy and Peter Bleach, both of whom were on the Latavian aircraft Antonov An-26 that dropped more than 300 AK 47 assault rifles and a million rounds of ammunition close to an Anandmarg ashram in Purulia district of West Bengal. They have also produced documents, named some top bureaucrats involved in its planning and execution to back up their claims

According to them, Indian intelligence agency RAW joined hands with the British intelligence agency MI5 at behest of the Indian government to organise the arms dropping. The purpose was to help the Anandmargis start an anti-communist insurgency in West Bengal and destabilise the Left Front government.

Bleach is a former British special force officer involved in legal arms supply. Davy claimed to have worked with the Anandmargis and moved by the atrocities of the West Bengal government on innocent people of the state and joined the operation.

Some of the other key revelations they make are as follows:

·        A member of parliament from Bihar, Pappu Yadav, was in touch with the conspirators. It was he who arranged for Davy’s escape in his official car to Nepal from where Davy flew to Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, where he has been living ever since. Yadav is in the Tihar, serving life imprisonment in a murder case.

·        A senior CBI officer, J K Dutt, was also part of the conspiracy. He was at Pappu Yadav’s residence in New Delhi when Davy reached there on his way out to Nepal. Dutt subsequently investigated the case and did his best to cover up the tracks. Dutt denied the charge.

·        Former CBI director Joginder Singh claimed that when he tried to probe the case he was discouraged by the political establishment.

·        Davy claimed to have been living openly in Copenhagen, giving interviews freely and that these were part of the court proceedings in India but the CBI all along maintained that it had no idea about his whereabouts. He claimed the Indian government never wanted to bring him back to India until very recently. Denmark has now agreed to his deportation, which he doesn’t want and hence the disclosures on Times Now.

·        The Air Force cooperated in the case by allowing the aircraft, flying in from Pakistan and belonging to a front organisation of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, by shutting off its radars at Kalaikunda airbase close to the arms drop zone and elsewhere. It was on record before the court that the radars had been switched off for the night.

·        MI5 had sent three communications to RAW warning about the arms drop, after Bleach said he informed MI5 about it, as it was required by the established procedure in the UK. It is not fully clear why Bleach informed MI5 as he alleged the agency was in the know (was it because the alleged involvement was at the level of an individual official rather than the entire agency?). The warning was forwarded by the union government to West Bengal on “registered post” close to the event. The communication reached after the incident, as it was intended. The communication was sent by joint secretary in MHA Shanti Prakash, who later retired as Tripura’s chief secretary.

·        Bleach claimed he wanted to give the full story to the Indian court but he was prevented from it. He was later given a presidential pardon during the NDA regime, along with other Latavian crew in Indian jails.

·        Both claimed that details of the case never came to public domain because the Indian government and its intelligence agencies have much to hide.

·        Pappu Yadav’s father is associated with the Anandmargis. He, however, denied any knowledge of the conspiracy or involvement of the Anandmargis.

·        The union government has blocked all information on the subject through the RTI, claiming it to be a matter of national security.

Precisely because it involves grave security issues, the union government must come out clean.

We have similar instances of complicity of the state in letting criminals off. Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson was escorted out of the country at the behest of the union and Madhya Pradesh governments after the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

Much later, Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman close to the Gandhi families and an accused in the Bofors case, was allowed to go out of India and during the last UPA regime, his accounts abroad, in which he had received Bofors payoff, were de-freezed.

Intelligence failures led to not only the Kargil war but also the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

The Purulia case is even more serious because it points to complicity and collusion of the Indian government and its various agencies. It also points to the machinations of the union government in destabilising a state government by trying to engineer internal strife and armed conflict.

These are very serious charges and unverified yet. Since these charges are made by two prime accused in the case, it requires an official inquiry to establish the truth and the findings of this inquiry should be shared with the people.

 

Related report (PTI):

LF to make 'conspiracy angle' centre of poll campaign

West Bengal's ruling Left Front will highlight the alleged 1995 Purulia armsdrop 'conspiracy' against its government as the main plank of its campaign in the remaining three phases of the assembly election.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose said in a statement today that the district units had been asked to project the armsdrop 'conspiracy' angle in their areas where elections had not been held and also where they had been held.

''Rallies and street meetings will be organised today and tomorrow all over the state by the Left Front protesting against the conspiracy to oust the Front government and demanding probe to unravel the face of the conspirators,'' Bose said.

Referring to the media expose of the 'conspiracy', Bose said the propose of the operation was aimed at 'dislodging' the Front government in West Bengal.

''The arms were dropped for supplying to the Anandamargis to wage a violent movement against the CPI-M and the new expose revealed that the Centre was in the knowledge of the conspiracy as well as the Indian intelligence,'' Bose said.

Bose alleged that leaders of the ruling Congress at the Centre were 'involved' in the anti-Left Front conspiracy at that time 'and the purpose was to remove the democratically-elected Front government and impose President's rule in the state'.

''Concerted attempts are still being made by internal and foreign forces to dislodge the Left Front government in West Bengal,'' he claimed.

Bose demanded an immediate judicial enquiry to find out the people involved in hatching the conspiracy and urged front workers to organise rallies and meetings all over the state on the issue.

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