Did an officer in the Tamil Nadu Intelligence Bureau deliberately keep mum about the plot to target BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani during his October 2011 Rath Yatra? Was a police informer behind the failed operation?
Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa reports
Was the bombing prior to Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani’s October 2011 Rath Yatra at Madurai the handiwork of a police informer whose acts were known to a Tamil Nadu intelligence bureau official?
This startling revelation was made before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court in the form of a petition seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the matter.
The allegation is being backed up by two letters written by former Madurai Superintendent of Police V Balakrishnan.
According to the petition, the former SP had written to the Director General of Police in August 2013 suggesting that some officers were in the know that an informer from the minority community was behind the attack.
Refusing to speak much on the case, the former officer told rediff.com that some police informers from the minority community indulged in subversive activities and were getting away thanks to some corrupt officers in the intelligence.
Balakrishnan said, “An informer, Syed Wahab was involved in the attack during Advani’s visit. In fact, there was a case registered against him at the Avaniyapuram police station for extortion.”
The former SP also alleges that Vijay Perumal, a constable in the Madurai city intelligence unit, was close to Wahab.
The duo was in a nexus to settle real estate deals, the former officer claimed.
Countering the allegations made in the high court petition, former Research and Analysis Wing officer V Balachandran told rediff.com, “Dealing with informers has always been tricky for any police force and intelligence agencies. To call it a nexus would be completely wrong says. It can be called a nexus only if there is a gain.”
“Having informers is a necessary evil for any officer. Now the antecedents of the informer cannot be taken into consideration at all times. Often the informer is from the underworld or even part of a terrorist outfit. We need to rely on such people for information, as they are part of the network and are in the best position to pass on information.”
“Members of the underworld and some terror operatives become informers either for money or when they look for an alibi for the fear of being booked. Informers in the underworld are normally picked up from rival groups who give information against each other.”
“In the world of terror, however, the informant is always a low-level operative who knows enough about the network. It would be ridiculous to suggest that we would use a high-level operative for information instead of arresting him,” Balachandran said.
However, there have been instances of state-level intelligence being guided by the politics of the respective state. According to sources, such cases have been reported from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala where some officers were aware of what was going on, but never shared it with the central agencies.
At times it is political, officers would point out.
Meanwhile, IB officers told rediff.com that the alleged nexus between Wahab and Perumal would become clear only after a thorough probe.
Privately, they admit that police informers who are part of the crime syndicate feel protected as they are close to the department. While some stick to their job, the others use this protection to further their business.
‘Informers have become a necessary evil and there is an element of risk involved while dealing with them. We cannot be extremely harsh with them for the fear or losing a source,’ they said.