//India will now begin a wild spy chase

India will now begin a wild spy chase

Josy Joseph, Thursday, March 16, 2006  00:06 IST

NEW DELHI: India would approach the United States in the near future demanding extradition of Robinder Singh, the senior Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) operative who fled in May 2004 to the US after leaking national secrets for a long time.

Sources said the sensational spy case is set to witness major developments in the coming days with the government set to begin legal proceedings against Singh, now that the long-drawn investigation within his agency and outside has drawn to a completion. Singh was an Army officer who joined RAW and rose to become the joint director in country’s foreign intelligence agency. Singh fled to the US via Kathmandu after he came under surveillance for being a double agent siphoning off secrets to America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

Sources say his parent organisation Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Home Ministry and the Delhi police are now finalising the legal proceedings against him. It is expected to begin in the coming days.

Once the judicial prosecution begins, the official request for his extradition would be sent to the US under due process of law. Singh could be prosecuted under National Security Act, the Official Secrets Act or other concerned procedures and sources said the fastest judicial process of the available options would be exercised.

Once Singh is served notice at his last known address to appear before the court, and he doesn’t turn up, the process would enter the second stage where the results of the long and arduous investigations would be critically considered. Based on them, the court would issue a formal notice for his extradition to the US, where his presence has been established. He has been spotted in Virginia and is known to be living under false identity with his family.

When the court issues a formal extradition request, it would be the second time that India would be approaching the US for Singh. First was when former RAW chief C D Sahay, under whom the sensational case took place, approached the US immediately after he escaped to the US. The US flatly denied his existence in that country.

The judiciary’s demand to the US, however, is not expected to bring about any positive response.

The government would also proceed to take other actions against Singh including possible attachment of his properties. Singh had amassed several properties in Delhi and outside during his tenure with RAW.