New Delhi, Feb 24: Officers in the Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau have welcomed the verdict of the Supreme Court which stated the two agencies and the National Technical Research Organisation cannot be made accountable to the Parliament for their actions and expenditures.
"We are thankful that the Supreme Court issued such a ruling," an officer with the IB told OneIndia. A plea had been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a directive to bring these agencies under the oversight of the Parliament and the CAG.
The petition stated that this is the norm in several developed countries and hence in India too the agencies must be brought under the purview of the Parliament and the CAG.
Why IB and R&AW cannot be made accountable to the CAG?
These agencies work undercover and not always is an operation carried out by the book.
Moreover the officers rely heavily on sources for information. At times information needs to be sourced by paying a certain amount of money.
The "Khabri" or the informer not always shares information without expecting monetary benefits.
Every agency including the police have a certain amount of secret funds set aside. This fund cannot be audited and hence the Supreme Court was right in stating that the agencies cannot be brought under the purview of an audit. While this is one part of the story, the other is regarding undertaking covert operations.
Sometimes to catch a thief one needs to behave like one. Most of these officers work tirelessly on the field to get information or to trap a criminal/terrorist.
There have been numerous occasions in which officers of these agencies have been picked up by the police due to confusion. It is only later that the officer is let off after convincing the police. An officer with the IB says that this happens many times since to catch a thief many times we need to behave like one.
Cannot be made accountable to Parliament:
If operations of the IB or R&AW are brought under the purview of the Parliament, it will only compromise on national security. If an officer is asked to explain to a bunch of lawmakers every now and then about an operation, it hardly remains a secret.
Officers of these agencies at times track persons for five to six years before they can gather all the information before declaring that the intelligence is actionable in nature. In the midst of such an operation, if the Parliament summons him, it would throw a spanner in his work.
The Supreme Court has rightly said that no court should enter into this territory. Further it also said that trying to get into this domain may create a dent in national security.