Dulat Reveals Farooq Abdullah Got Former Hizbul Chief's Son A Place In Medical College

2 July 2015
India Today


New Delhi: Former chief of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) AS Dulat, who was also a critical member of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's team, has revealed that former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and a former Cabinet Minister arranged a medical seat for a top militant's son. In an exclusive interview to the India Today Television programme To The Point, Dulat recalled Salahuddin - the head of Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jihadi Council based in Pakistan - once contacted the head of Intelligence Bureau in Srinagar, KM Singh, asking for a place in a medical college for his son. Abdullah, who was state's chief minister then, got this request implemented. Dulat said there are frequent instances of IB and R&AW doing such favours to militants and terrorists, including those in Pakistan. 'In this instance, it was part of what could have been an attempt to lure Salahuddin back, which didn't succeed,' Dulat said. In the interview Dulat has revealed that current Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed 'loves his Black Label Whisky'. He called him 'a tippler' and said that once upon a time Sayeed was called 'Mufti Whisky'. Now, however, Dulat said, Mufti has given up drinking. He said the then prime minister Vajpayee wanted to make Farooq Abdullah Vice President of India and clear the way for Omar Abdullah to be Jammu and Kashmir's chief minister. But he reneged on the promise. He recalled that the offer was made on Vajpayee's behalf by the then national security adviser Brajesh Mishra to Farooq Abdullah at Dulat's Delhi residence during a private dinner. Later, Farooq Abdullah told Dulat both LK Advani and Vajpayee had reconfirmed the offer. However, Dulat said, Farooq Abdullah had doubts whether Vajpayee would fulfil this promise. 'I don't trust them. I don't trust Delhi,' Abdullah had said. Ultimately, Vajpayee reneged on the promise. According to Dulat, this was because people in Delhi felt Farooq was unreliable. They even suggested he would not spend time in the Rajya Sabha. The other problem was that Farooq becoming Vice President was part of an arrangement whereby Krishan Kant would become the President. When that didn't happen, the promise to Farooq fell apart, Dulat said, adding that Farooq was bitter about it. Dulat revealed that in 2002 prime minister Vajpayee had advised Sonia Gandhi against making Mufti Mohammad Sayeed the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. This was because Delhi at that time had 'grave doubts about Mehbooba Mufti'. They believed that she had links with the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jamaat. As a result, during a visit to Srinagar in April 2003, Vajpayee insisted that Mehbooba should not be on the stage with him. In the interview, Dulat said that Brajesh Mishra, as the principal secretary to the prime minister and as an NSA, 'virtually ran the government'. He claimed Mishra was more powerful than the then Union home minister LK Advani. According to Dulat, prime minister Vajpayee readily acquiesced to this power arrangement. Dulat also recounted in detail how the Crisis Management Group in 1999 'goofed up' and 'bungled' while handling the hijack of flight IC-814. Dulat was a member of the CMG and head of R&AW. 'They lacked focus and leadership and therefore were unable to give orders for the plane to be detained in Amritsar. They carried on debating and the plane flew away,' he said. He said Farooq Abdullah was furious when informed that three terrorists had to be released as part of the IC-814 deal. 'Farooq ventilated his anger for three hours and then stormed off to meet Governor Saxena, intending to resign. However, Governor Saxena calmed him down over two glasses of whisky and Farooq eventually accepted the situation and agreed to the release of the terrorists,' Dulat said.