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Soviet military attache in New Delhi was CIA mole: Russian TV

September 29, 2005 02:47 IST

In the backdrop of the controversy rocking the Indian political establishment over Mitrokhin Archives II, the ex-KGB hit back Wednesday, alleging that the Soviet military attache in New Delhi around that time was an American Central Intelligence Agency mole, who had helped United States intelligence in uncovering 19 Soviets and 150 foreigners acting as undercover agents.

In a documentary broadcasted Wednesday night, Russia's main channel '1 TV' said Colonel Dmitry Polyakov of the top secret Glavnoye Razvedovatelnoye Upravlenie -- the intelligence arm of the Soviet General Staff in early 1960s -- had volunteered to work for the CIA during his assignment in Washington. 

In 1963, during his posting as Soviet military attache in Rangoon, Polyakov had passed on the names of the KGB and GRU agents active in southeast Asia. However, he managed to win the favour of his bosses in Moscow with numerous gifts and was appointed Soviet military attache in New Delhi in 1972 before Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's India visit and talks with prime minister Indira Gandhi, the documentary alleged.

"Colonel Polyakov, made a good career during Brezhnev's India visit on the basis of input provided to him by the CIA from its moles in the Indian government," the Channel 1 documentary Lyubyanka (KGB HQ): The Life on the Eve of Execution based on the archives and recollections of former military counterintelligence officers of the Soviet KGB said.

Polyakov on return to Soviet Union was promoted to the rank of GRU Major-General and was in charge of the training of undercover agents. He had passed on the names and aliases of the future Soviet military agents to the CIA through special transmitters via the US Embassy in Moscow, the documentary alleged. 

In 1978, Polyakov was again posted as Soviet military attache in New Delhi. However, in 1980, he was recalled to Moscow on some pretext after he was shortlisted among nine Soviet generals suspected of leakage of sensitive information to the CIA.

On the advice of the KGB, doctors banned 59-year-old General Polyakov to go back to New Delhi for resuming duties in the Soviet Embassy, the documentary said.

 The Russian TV documentary claimed that Polyakov's identity as a CIA mole was disclosed by double agent Richard Ames arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1994 on charges of espionage in favour of the Soviet KGB.

General Polyakov, during his 25-year-long association with the CIA, had "betrayed" 19 Soviet undercover agents, over 150 foreigners working as the agents of the Soviet intelligence and had identified about 1,500 agents and officers of the KGB and GRU, the documentary said.

In November 1987, he was sentenced to death by the Supreme Soviet Court on the charges of treason, it said.

In May 1988, during his Moscow summit with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, US president Ronald Reagan had offered to swap Polyakov for an arrested KGB spy in the United States. "The man you are talking about has been executed two months back," Gorbachev had reportedly responded.

Also Read:
Mitrokhin Archives: Will the Government of India enlighten us?


Vinay Shukla in Moscow