Justice Markandey Katju, currently Chairman, Press Council of India, has been appointed as director of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW or R&AW). RAW is the main external intelligence agency of India.
Justice Katju has previously been a judge of the Supreme Court of India. Before being elevated to the Supreme Court, Katju had been the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Madras High Court and was acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.
When contacted on the developments, Justice Katju declined to comment.
The appointment, however, was confirmed to Firstpost by a senior Congress minister and a BJP spokesperson.
"The position of director of RAW is a very sensitive one. By convention, therefore, governments have always made the appointment based on an all-party consensus. The UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, called for a meeting to discuss possible candidates. Justice Katju’s name was proposed by the BJP and seconded by the Trinamool Congress,” said the Congress minister, who confirmed the news on conditions of anonymity.
"There is no doubt that Justice Katju is a patriot and wears his loyalty to the country on his sleeve," said a BJP office bearer. "Unquestionable loyalty is a pre-requisite for the post. In addition, of course, the incumbent should be one with both depth and width of knowledge. During his stint as chairman of the Press Council, Justice Katju has more than demonstrated that he has a finger on the pulse of the major issues concerning the country and the world. He has a view on corruption, on Gujarat, on Modi, on Nitish Kumar, on Mamata Banerjee, on Dev Anand, on Sunjay Dutt, and so on. But it was his comments on Pakistan that made him a prime candidate for the post.”
"First of all let me tell you one thing Pakistan is no country. It's a fake country, it's artificially created country by the British who had the policy of divide and rule by starting this bogus two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims have two separate nations,” Justice Katju had said in a panel discussion.
The all-party meeting was called by Ms. Gandhi shortly after these comments, it is learnt.
The discussions and the decision taken at the meeting seem to indicate that the decision to appoint Katju as director of RAW was one that is well thought-through and appropriate.
But is everything what it seems? Digvijaya Singh was heard commenting to Mulayam Singh Yadav immediately after the meeting, “thank God we came to an agreement on Katju. As director of RAW, Katju will have to be invisible and low-profile. He cannot appear on TV, cannot take part in any functions, cannot write open letters, cannot be on twitter, cannot maintain a blog and can no longer write his columns in newspapers. So the appointment is the end of the daily nuisance this man has been causing the nation.”
Editor’s Note: Dear readers, for virtually every day of the year, we at Firstpost offer you hardcore analyses of political events and other grim aspects of our lives. And although we look to make every one of our analyses lively, the tone of gravitas is hard to escape. We thought we might use the occasion of April Fools’ Day to have a whimsical look at the manner in which even grave matters of public discourse acquire a farcical edge when the political spin doctors go to work on them. We hope you will read this article in the spirit in which it was intended.