M A I N   N E W S

Book alleges links between KGB, Indira government

London, September 18
The Soviet intelligence agency KGB was able to successfully penetrate into India in the 1970s and influence the then government headed by Indira Gandhi even as the then Prime Minister remained unaware of this, according to a new book under publication.

The first extracts of the book “The Mitrokhin Archive, Volume II: The KGB and the World” by Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, to be published by Penguin, appeared in The Times newspaper here yesterday.

According to the book which is about the KGB’s global operations, a huge cache of the KGB records smuggled out of Moscow after the fall of communism has revealed that the Kremlin spent a fortune trying to influence India under Indira Gandhi. The report also reveals that the Communist Party of India was pressurised by the KGB to support Indira Gandhi. A number of senior officers have testified that under Indira Gandhi, India was one of the priority targets of the intelligence agency and was one of the countries most successfully penetrated by the Soviet intelligence.

According to the excerpt, “Indira Gandhi never realised that the KGB’s first prolonged contact with her occurred during her first visit to the Soviet Union, a few months after Stalin’s death, in 1953. As well as keeping her under continuous surveillance, the Centre (KGB headquarters) also surrounded her with handsome, attentive male admirers.”

The book reveals that Oleg Kalugin, once the youngest general in Soviet foreign intelligence, said, “We had scores of sources through the Indian Government — in intelligence, counter-intelligence, the Defence and Foreign ministries and the police.” India became “a model of KGB infiltration of a Third World government”, he said.

According to these top-secret records, brought to the West by Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior archivist of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence set out to exploit the corruption that became endemic under Indira Gandhi’s regime.

The newspaper report claims that despite “her own frugal lifestyle, suitcases full of banknotes were said to be routinely taken to the Prime Minister’s house to finance her wing of the Congress Party.” It says that the PM “was unaware that some of the suitcases, which replenished Congress’s coffers, came from Moscow via the KGB. Her principal fund-raiser, Lalit Narayan Mishra, however, knew that he was accepting Soviet money. Short and obese with several chins, Mishra looked the part of the corrupt politician that he increasingly became.”

The Kremlin spent a fortune trying to influence the press, police, ministers and Indira Gandhi. It says, “Particularly after Mrs Gandhi signed a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation with the Soviet Union, the KGB was anxious to do what it could to keep her in power. The KGB ‘residency’ in Delhi was one of the largest in the world outside the Soviet bloc, and was awarded the rare honour by the Centre (KGB HQ in Moscow) of being promoted to ‘main residency’.

The Indians lifted restrictions on the number of Soviet diplomats and trade officials in the country, thus allowing the KGB numerous cover positions. One of the KGB heads of political intelligence in Delhi, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, went on to head Russian foreign intelligence, became a confidant of President Vladimir Putin and was appointed Russian Ambassador to New Delhi last year. The Russians were also extremely active in trying to influence Indian opinion.’’

According to the KGB files, the report says that by “1973 it had on its payroll 10 Indian newspapers as well as a press agency. The previous year the KGB claimed to have planted 3,789 articles in Indian newspapers — probably more than in any other country in the non-Communist world. By 1975, the number of articles it claimed to have inspired had risen to 5,510. India was also one of the most favourable environments for Soviet front organisations.” — UNI


Report baseless: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
Questioning the authenticity of a report on KGB operations published in a British newspaper, which alleged that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, her ministers and the Congress were on the pay rolls of the Russian intelligence agency, the KGB, the Congress today rubbished the report, describing it as totally baseless.

“We refuse to comment on the report as it is totally baseless,” Congress spokesman Abishek Singhvi said, adding that many of those who were alleged to have received the money were no more alive and that the report was aimed at sensationalising and nothing else. The Left parties also came down heavily on the authors of a new book.

At a press conference, convened primarily to announce the formation of a separate Secular Alliance for Bihar polls, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said: “Some writer in England wants to make money by basing his book on stolen papers.”

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |