A couple of days back, there were reports that suggested that the Intelligence Bureau is undergoing a major shake-up. It was said that at least 500 Intelligence Bureau officials have been transferred.
Some of the states in which transfers have been affected are Tamil Nadu and poll-bound Karnataka. This has also given rise to speculation that if the transfers had anything to do with the political developments.
Senior IB officials say that the transfers are routine. The biggest effects of these transfers have been on those working on the technical side. In the case of field officials, the transfers have been minimal, officials also confirmed.
Everyone loves a conspiracy theory, don't they say the former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, V Balachandran while reacting to reports that the transfers could have been due to political reasons.
Balachandran goes on to say that we are talking in terms of 500 transfers. This is, in fact, a very small number considering the strength of the IB. The R&AW in comparison to the IB is a much smaller organisation. The IB has over 5,000 people. These transfers in my view do not mean much, he further says.
Look at the Bombay police and the transfers that take place there. In the city alone nearly 1,000 transfers are affected and when we compare this, what has happened in the IB is a very small number.
Balachandran also points out that one needs to remember that both the IB and R&AW have a contingent of technical people. The field workers are smaller in number. The technical contingent alone comprises 2/3rd of the force. When compared to what it was in my times, it is bigger today as there are the social media that the IB has to deal with these days. They need to scan through millions of accounts and hence the technical side is bigger.
Not for elections:
With talk floating around that the transfers could have been effected for elections and also the incorrect reports the IB gave during the Gujarat polls, Balachandran says this is not admissible. It is not like a police station where the local electorate can be influenced, Balachandran says.
In my view and experience as an intelligence officer, the IB cannot influence the elections. They do prepare reports, no doubt, but is never admitted.
Field officers have not shuffled around often:
Balachandran says that shuffling around field officers do not take place that often. He or she remains in a place for at least 20 to 25 years. In Intelligence, the longer a person stays at a place, the better.
Transfers do not take place every three years in the IB as is seen in the case of the police. A person who goes to a place afresh cannot gauge the situation so easily. Normally it takes a year to understand the situation in a place and then a good three years later will the officer get a grip over the place.
If transfers are to be affected, then it is done between zones. The officers are rotated between zones. As I said frequent transfers do not take place as it takes a long time to understand the complexities of a place, the former R&AW officer also adds.