Saturday Jan 06, 2018
Indian digital media outlet, The Quint, retracted on Saturday a story published earlier stating that convicted Indian spy in Pakistan, Kulbhushan Jadhav, was indeed a RAW agent.
"The story on Kulbhushan Jadhav has been retracted. The Quint is rechecking some of the information mentioned in the article" — this is the message that greets viewers when they click on the link of the story, originally titled: Two Ex-RAW Chiefs Did Not Want Kulbhushan Jadhav Recruited As Spy.
Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, in a re-tweet of his personal account on Saturday, stated that: "Update as reported: Journalist Chandan Nandy who filed the story is "missing/gone in hiding", was last spotted at Khan Market Delhi and since then has been untraceable for Family and friends. Freedom of press ?"
In an earlier similar re-tweet, he shared a screenshot of the story when it was posted and wrote: "Quint takes down its story. Truth is stranger than fiction."
Nandy is the opinion editor of The Quint, and shared a message on Twitter 17 hours ago when the story was originally published.
According to the original story in The Quint, which was posted on the Pakistani website defence.pk, "two former chiefs of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), who headed the organisation sometime over the past 15 years, had put their foot down against recruiting him for operations in Pakistan".
"Even as two RAW secretaries refused to hire his services, the proposal to recruit Jadhav for specific assignments was finally acceded to by a chief who headed the intelligence agency a few years ago and was subsequently re-employed (after retirement) in an organisation also involved in collecting intelligence.
This was among a few different attempts to launch renewed efforts to use human sources as “deep penetration” agents in Pakistan, where most intelligence assets, both HUMINT and SIGINT, were wound up during the prime ministership of IK Gujral in the late 1990s."
The story stated that the clearest evidence that Jadhav was a RAW agent was revealed when "his cover – as a businessman who would frequent Iran, especially Chabahar – was blown" and he was captured by Pakistan's security forces, "following which a former RAW chief, besides at least two other senior officers, called his Mumbai-based parents to “advise” them to not speak about their son’s case to anyone".
The other evidence was the second passport, with the name Hussein Mubarak Patel, that Jadhav carried on him, which shows that it was originally issued in 2003 and was renewed in 2014. The second passport (L9630722) was issued in Thane on May 12, 2014 and was due to expire on May 11, 2024, states The Quint report.
"While one passport (no E6934766) is in his name, the second one raises more questions, especially the date of its issue and why he signed as Hussein Mubarak Patel to enter into a property deal (with his mother) in Mumbai where he lived with his parents, wife, and children before he was nabbed.."
The report reveals that Jadhav, born in August 1968, did work for the Indian navy but retired prematurely and started a business, whereby he would travely to Iran frequently. "He was spotted as a potential recruit by an undercover RAW officer posted in Iran, who then subsequently shared this with a colleague at the agency’s headquarters. This second officer subsequently moved to send overtures to Jadhav, who accepted the terms and conditions."
The RAW officials, both former and serving, said in the report that "Jadhav would 'go on assignments off and on' and he would undergo the mandatory 'debriefing' each time he returned to India from his 'visits to Balochistan' or when he volunteered to share information".
Sources informed the Indian publication that Jadhav’s "undoing was based partly on his unprofessionalism and partly because he was not a 'career spy'.
"He did the unthinkable — instead of waiting to communicate with his case officer face-to-face, Jadhav would sometimes use “means over the air waves.” The ISI intercepted some of the communications and were also able to pinpoint his location, making it relatively easy for them to track and then nab him," the report said, quoting sources.
The report states further that "soon after Jadhav was trapped and caught in March 2016, a few records relating to payments made to him were destroyed, leaving 'no trace' of his existence as far the RAW is concerned".