IB unaware of the Emergency decision, claims a former spy

Throughout the Emergency, Mr. Rajeswar writes, the IB briefed Indira Gandhi about how the country was responding to her decision.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:30 pm IST

Published - September 20, 2015 02:43 am IST - NEW DELHI:

On June 25, 1975, when Indira Gandhi suspended all the Constitutional norms and imposed the Emergency across the country, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s premier internal spy agency, was taken by surprise.

In his memoir titled, India The Crucial Years , T.V. Rajeswar, former IB chief, who’s also served as Governor of various States in the 1980s, mentions that Ms. Gandhi's decision “was not made in consultation with the IB or the Home Ministry.”

Launched by Vice-President Hamid Ansari here at his residence, the book portrays the turbulent times of the 1970s India, shining light on the popular political leaders of the time and doubting the rationale of their decision making. In his address to a small audience which mostly comprised retired intelligence officers, Mr. Rajeswar said that the decision about which political leader or activist should be arrested was made either by Ms. Gandhi herself or by her son, Sanjay Gandhi.

IB State-wise survey Throughout the Emergency, Mr. Rajeswar writes, the IB briefed Ms. Gandhi about how the country was responding to her decision. “One year after the imposition of Emergency, the IB conducted a State-wise survey of the state of affairs and recommended the release of all political prisoners. It was suggested to Ms. Gandhi that it would be advisable to hold elections some time in October 1976. The elections were held in 1977, and Ms. Gandhi's defeat from her pocket borough of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh was announced on the night of March 23.”

Mr. Rajeswar blames Ms. Gandhi's son Sanjay Gandhi for having an overbearing influence over her mother and for brushing aside IB's suggestion of holding elections in October 1976.

At another instance, Mr. Rajeswar claims that though various Hindu nationalist organisations have been pro-Israel right from the Independence, the reason why India was late in establishing friendly ties with Israel was because of Kashmir dispute and the fear of dissent from Indian Muslims that forced the Congress to display a “pro-Arab” stance.

Mr. Ansari praised the book saying that it was the template for intelligence officers that will inspire them to remain objective while performing their tasks.

“If the agents aren’t neutral,” Mr. Ansari said, “objective reporting is not possible.”

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