Sunday, June 20, 2021

Fly on the Wall | Chowksi fell into Ajit Doval’s trap

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Chowksi fell into Ajit Doval’s trap
The Mehul Chowksi saga has once again shown there is still a fire in the belly of 76-year old country’s top spymaster Ajit Doval. It now transpires that a core team drawn from the Intelligence Bureau, Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Strategic Policy Group (SPG) worked directly under Ajit Doval to execute “Operation Chowksi”. Prime Minister Modi has been burning midnight oil ever since Neerav Modi and Mehul Chowksi vanished from India after swallowing thousands of crores of banks’ money. Modi was upset that his photograph appeared on front pages with them to paint him as if he was patronizing them. The task of bringing them was handed over to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. While Neerav Modi vanished to London and Chowksi ended up in Antigua as a citizen of tiny Iceland. Those privy to goings-on say that three persons of British origins were specially hired by Doval in London to locate Neerav Modi’s whereabouts. They found and clicked his photo and the lid was off. Indian spies could not have operated directly in the UK. Now legal proceedings are underway after his arrest. But in the Chowksi’s case, his Antiguian citizenship created a problem and Doval reported to have chalked out a “covert operation” sitting in his South Block Office. There is a whole trail behind how Choksi was 'honey trapped' by a woman during his evening stroll, who hired this beautiful woman and her accomplice, how the fugitive was lured to this woman’s apartment in Antigua, bundled in a car and taken to Dominica. This fascinating story is just another thriller from Ajit Doval’s secret diary which may perhaps never be known.

When Mumbai Police botched up Doval plan
Doval is a master of covert operations, works quietly and only a handful of people know how he won over six of Laldenga's seven commanders during the Mizo National Front insurgency era, remained underground for years in the Arakan in Burma & Chinese territory, played key role in Sikkim’s merger with India, rescued Romanian diplomat Liviu Radu in 1988 and went inside the Golden Temple, Amritsar days before Operation Black Thunder and negotiated the release of hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in Kandahar in 1999. It was due to his exemplary record that the Monmohan Singh government made him Director IB in July 2004. Even after he retired, the UPA took his services in “Operation Dawood Ibrahim”. Doval lured Chota Rajan who had split with Dawood and wanted to avenge the attack on his life in Bangkok in 2000. According to R K Singh who was Home Secretary in the UPA era and Modi government minister, Chota Rajan’s men were trained at a secret location in India with a plan to eliminate Dawood. In fact, Doval was briefing Rajan’s sharp-shooters, Vicky Malhotra and Farid Tanasha, at a 5-star hotel and handing over fake travel documents etc to reach Dubai. But that's when things went horribly wrong as cops from Mumbai landed there all of a sudden to arrest them. This was perhaps the first time when the Indian James Bond (behind the scenes only) lost his cool. He tried to explain to the team led by DCP Mumbai who he is. But all went in vain. One of the most audacious operations to eliminate the underworld don was unraveled because of an ugly turf war between India's security agencies. It was only after such failed operations that a new mechanism has been put in place where all intelligence agencies are under the NSA’s Command.

Winds of change are blowing!
When the going is good, many people will be your friends. When the going becomes tough, even your best friends will run away, sung artist William Onyeabor. After West Bengal polls, winds of change are blowing in reverse direction for the Establishment. The recent tough stance from the judiciary in states and SC has worried the government. The way Chief Justice of India N V Ramana ripped into the government’s proposed names for the CBI’s chief’s post at the selection committee meeting last week, has sent shivers down the spine of powers that be. Ramana had been deeply hurt ever since Andhra Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy made personal allegations against him. It is still a mystery as to why Reddy made such allegations who himself is at the mercy of CBI, ED & Income tax due to various corruption cases. But the outgoing CJI S A Bobade and collegium stood firmly behind Ramana. He is his own master and obliged to none.