Dec 10, 2008

India - Mathur may launch reforms in intelligence machinery

Vinay Kumar

New IB chief has specialised in dealing with insurgency

NEW DELHI: Rajiv Mathur, Special Director, Intelligence Bureau, on Tuesday took over as Officer on Special Duty after having been appointed to head the domestic intelligence agency from January 1, 2009.

Mr. Mathur, 59, has served in the IB for the past three decades in various capacities and handled a number of sensitive postings.

A 1972 batch Indian Police Service officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, he will take over from P.C. Halder, who superannuates on December 31, 2008 after serving as IB chief for two years.

“The name of Rajiv Mathur was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” according to official sources. He will also have a fixed tenure of two years.

The change at the top, though as per schedule, comes at a time when P. Chidambaram has taken charge in North Block after Shivraj Patil resigned as Home Minister in the wake of last month’s Mumbai terror strikes.

Security lapse

Mr. Chidambaram, on a visit to Mumbai, admitted that there were security and intelligence lapses which led to the attacks.

Intelligence agencies and lack of coordination among them at various levels have come in for criticism for the failure to prevent terror attacks which took place with deadly regularity over the past three years in various parts of the country.

As head of the IB, Mr. Mathur is likely to take up reforms in the intelligence machinery, streamline it and fill vacancies.

The agency has not seen additional recruitment for a considerable time. A 10-year perspective plan of the IB, under the Home Ministry’s consideration, needs to be finalised to reorient the agency for meeting future challenges in terms of gaining tactical and technological advantage over the elements inimical to the country’s security and law and order.

Mr. Mathur headed the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau office in Delhi for a number of years before moving to the IB headquarters. Former intelligence functionaries describe him as a low-profile, dedicated and cerebral officer. He has specialised in dealing with insurgency in different parts of the country and has handled the IB “political” wing.

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