New Delhi, July 24: Jaswant Singh today accepted the Prime Minister’s challenge, announcing that he would reveal the name of the “mole” in P.V. Narasimha Rao’s office to the Prime Minister tomorrow.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister had dared the former foreign minister to substantiate the claim he has made in his book, A Call To Honour: In Service of Emergent India, that there was a mole in Rao’s PMO.
“If he has the courage and the decency, why does he not name the mole'” Manmohan had said. Jaswant took exception to the language but said he would tell the Prime Minister who the “American mole” was.
In the book, Jaswant writes that he has a letter which proves that a key official in Rao’s office was leaking India’s nuclear secrets to the US.
Jaswant has been critical of the Indo-US nuclear deal of late. His book implies that he has proof of the Congress allowing the Americans to influence India’s strategic interests.
“If you read the full text of the letter, you will find echoes of the continuation of the US policy in the July 18 Indo-US agreement (on nuclear cooperation) and what the US expects of India,” he said.
Jaswant alleged that the honour of the PMO was at stake. “We were snooped and are still being snooped.” The BJP leader did not name the “mole” in the book.
His party, the BJP, is clearly embarrassed by the revelations. Senior leaders said references to the “mole” would only hurt the BJP.
“Even if we knew about the mole, the question to be asked is: what were we doing about it for six years that we were in power,” said one. The party has reportedly asked Jaswant to clear “misunderstandings” caused by the book.
Besides meeting the Prime Minister to reveal the identity of the mole, Jaswant is expected to clear the air on a number of revelations about the Kandahar hijack, Pokhran blasts and the Gujarat riots tomorrow.
Following suggestions from the party in a meeting last night, Jaswant would meet the media and respond to queries about the book.
His references to Kandahar have reportedly upset several leaders, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee on whom lay the ultimate responsibility for the decision to trade terrorists for the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane.
Party leaders are also upset over Jaswant making public the demand for $200 million made by the terrorists for the release of the hostages.
Others are angry that the book has diverted attention from the Mumbai bomb blasts. The focus is back on Kandahar, an embarrassing subject for the BJP.
“The party was taking an aggressive stand on internal security, particularly in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts. The government was on the back foot. But his book has put us on the defensive,” said a leader.
The view is echoed by the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, in its latest issue.
However unnecessary, even damaging, the controversy might be for the BJP, the more the book is talked about the better the sales.
THE PMO THEN
Some persons associated with the Narasimha Rao PMO. List not exhaustive and there
is no suggestion that Jaswant Singh is pointing fingers at any of them
- Minister of State : Bhuvnesh Chaturvedi
- Principal Secretary : A.N. Verma
- Personal Secretary : Ramu Damodaran
- Additional Private Secretary : R.K. Khandekar
- Political Adviser : Jitendra Prasada*
- Media Adviser : P.V.R.K. Prasad
- Scientific Adviser : V.H. Arunachalam
*Strictly not part of the PMO but closely interacted with Rao