Morarji Desai was a great man because he made it to the post of Prime Minister, and that’s what we’ve been taught in our textbooks. But whenever we churn our brain in history’s lane, he shows up as a dude who used to drink his own piss. This is the only riveting fact by which we recognize him. Start following in his footsteps and very soon India will be free of public urinals. Indeed, a great man!
But there is something else about him. Something about his escapade with India’s external intelligence agency R&AW which we can’t find in our historiography majorly dominated by the Left-leaning writers.
Right after he barged into the highest political office in March 1977, one of his priorities was to cut down the budget of R&AW by 50 percent and compelling Rameshwar Nath Kao, the legendary spymaster, to quit his job. Whatever he did, was meant to demoralize the agency and its outstanding officers.
With his narrow mindset and envious attitude towards R&AW, he conceived that during Emergency, Kao and his lieutenants (famously known as Kaoboys) supported Indira Gandhi in bringing opposition leaders to their knees.
The moral bankruptcy of Desai coupled with the fact that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” resulted in a one-man committee to find out the involvement of R&AW during Emergency era. This job was given to an IPS of Maharashtra cadre who ironically was the son-in-law of Chaudhary Charan Singh, Home Minister in Desai’s government. Kao was acquitted of the charges as nothing suspicious was found against him but still he was looked contemptuously by the ‘great’ Prime Minister.
Rameshwar Nath Kao, a native of Varanasi, joined the Indian Imperial Police (which later became the India Police Service) in 1940 and founded R&AW from scratch in 1968 before serving in the Intelligence Bureau. His particularly instrumental role in the Bangladesh Liberation War made him an overnight hero in the world of spies. One of his fans in the global intelligence community was George H. W. Bush, who used to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at that time.
Suspecting a man of this stature and dragging him into the political arena for personal grudges? Desai can’t be pardoned, whether he resides in heaven or hell!
Daredevils of R&AW and Pakistan’s Project-706
The early 1970s goes down as a race of nuclear supremacy between India and Pakistan. Sensing the technological marvel of scientists during Indira Gandhi’s regime, Pakistan kicked off its first atomic bomb project codenamed Project-706 in 1974 under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Little did they realize that their ambitious mission was already on the radar of lethal R&AW agents stationed in Pakistan.
Gathering substantive intelligence inputs from Kahuta, the project site in Rawalpindi, was not an easy task for the Indian spies, but with a hell of a determination and ruthlessly genius approach, they managed to chime in.
To confirm their dubiety over the ongoing project, they roped in a mole near the highly-secured nuclear facility and retrieved hair samples of Pakistani scientists from a salon which were tested positive for uranium and high radiation. The enemy state is up in the nuclear game, was no more a secret!
The irremissible act of our ‘great’ Prime Minister
During that period, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the notorious General who was enjoying presidentship after imposing martial law in Pakistan, became a phone-friend of Morarji Desai and used to call him frequently discussing mundane topics. In the disguise of friendship, Haq was actually fossicking India’s intelligence activities through shrewd and manipulative moves. Poor Morarji evidently lacked IQ.
On the other side, Kaoboys, fond of pulling out incredible feats in espionage, recruited an informant and promised to give handsome money in lieu of the nuclear project’s blueprint. Since the bribe was supposed to be given in foreign (Pakistani) currency, it required the final consent of Prime Minister according to the standard rules. To their utter shock, Desai denied doing so.
Considering himself a worshipper of peace and harmony, Desai refused any possibility of bruising the neighbor country. He not only disappointed our agents but also crossed the highest level of stupidity by informing Zia-ul-Haq about the presence of Indian spies in Kahuta.
As soon as this critical information was disclosed to Haq, he got his network in action and subsequently several agents of R&AW were picked smoothly to be assassinated. Indian spies met a horrible death in Pakistan only because of Desai’s input.
What makes the entire episode even more creepy is that they died defending their motherland against its biggest enemy, and the main culprit was their own head of government.
But his antics continued
Uday Mahurkar reports in DailyO that Moshe Dayan, the notable Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Force who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs during Kahuta event, suggested Desai that Israel can destroy the nuclear plant in Kahuta in an air strike. He only needed landing permission in Indian territory to refuel his fighter plane. Our ‘great’ Prime Minister turned down his generous offer.
Why the hell did he support Pakistan?
We don’t know.
But we do know that to this date, he is the only Indian to be conferred with Pakistan’s highest civilian award Nishan-e-Pakistan, the Indian counterpart of Bharat Ratna.
The Indian Prime Minister who was also a paid informer for the CIA
Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who rose to fame for his groundbreaking reportage on the My Lai Massacre, revealed in his 1983 book The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, that Morarji Desai was actually a CIA mole. He was paid $20,000 annually for passing crucial information during the 1971 Indo-Pak standoff. Desai had filed a libel suit against Hersh for this terrible allegation but lost the case as his defence was lamentably weak.
An Indian Spy In Pakistan
Originally written in Hindi as Main Pakistan Mein Bharat Ka Jasoos Tha, An Indian Spy In Pakistan is a gripping tale of Mohanlal Bhaskar, who was ratted by a double-agent in Pakistan while seeking confidential information about nuclear bombs. During the 14 years of imprisonment in Pakistan, he was subjected to gruesome torture and inhuman pain by the authorities. When he came back to India as a part of the prisoner swap, he went to the newly-appointed PM Desai and demanded compensation scheme for Indians who had rotted in Pakistani jails. He was right on his part because a spy leaves behind everything to serve the nation, playing dangerously and risking life at every nook.
If politicians who were jailed for nineteen months during the Emergency can get the pension then why not an agent?
And here is what our ‘great’ Prime Minister replied
Bhaskar writes in the closing chapter of his book