Saturday, December 19, 2009

chinese honey trap on a RAW officer in Beijing

19 Dec 2009


From Our Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Central Administrative Tribunal has come to the rescue of a top RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) sleuth summarily dismissed without inquiry for his alleged escapades with a suspected Chinese woman spy while posted in China in 2007-08.

Even while holding the officer, M M Sharma, Senior Scientific Assistant, as "not reliable for holding sensitive or superior positions," the 2-member Tribunal headed by Vice-chairman Justice M Ramachandran asked the government to review the penalty of denial of pension or even compassionate allowance.

The tribunal asked the government to bear in mind that "a former officer of the government of India is not to bear a begging bowl for his livelihood, he may have a family to support and the advanced age may bring him financial responsibilities. It directed the government to communicate its decision to the aggrieved officer within four months.

It pointed out that Sharma was dismissed just two years before his retirement while there were no adverse reports against him in his service records.

Even while recording that the government did not produce files concerning Sharma, the tribunal said: "We do not think it might be necessary for us to go through such files as we feel that even the circumstances as now available are sufficient for us to hold that there essentially was no arbitrariness in the government's approach." It, however, noted that "it may not be possible to gather what, in fact, prompted the President to come to a decision to dismiss him."

The government counsel had repeatedly taken the plea during hearing that the inquiry was not held before dismissing the officer as disclosure of the classified secret materials was not in the interest of security of India. Counsel indicated that the officer had given access of his computer to the Chinese woman enabling her to read secret documents.

"By permitting free hand to a person who was having a position in the Communist Party of China to peruse the documents without any restraint was shocking," the tribunal noted, agreeing with the government counsel.

Sharma, who was posted with the Indian mission in China on July 2, 2007 was recalled in May, 2008 and put under suspension on September 5, 2008. He was subsequently dismissed on December 22 last year.

As submitted by him before the tribunal, he became a victim of rivalry between two women. One was Chen Yu Cui engaged by him as a house maid while at Thayuan to attend to the household duties as he had left his family in India. The other one is Maggie, introduced to him by a colleague staying with him to teach him local language.

Sharma averred in the question-answers that Maggie was a person of lose character but he decided to establish close links with her to get some classified information of prime importance of China as she was a worker of the Communist Party of China and regularly attended official meetings of the party. He also admitted that the chief of mission had cautioned him to "go slow and be very careful."

According to Sharma, the two women fought and Maggie wanted the maid immediately removed while the main wanted to ban Maggie's entry in the house. He did not oblige Maggie and so she complained to the mission that he had illicit relations with the maid, resulting in an inquiry. Sharma told the Tribunal that he reduced frequency of meetings with Maggie but did not completely stop the association with her because he very much wanted to gather useful information from her.

He was subsequently recalled. He told the Tribunal that he was not given any reasons whatsoever why he was called back and the suspension and consequent step of dismissal had come to him as a shock. His plea was that had the inquiry been held, he would have known the allegations against him and explained his position as there was nothing alarming about his conduct.



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