From June to September 2013, the matter just simmered beneath a diplomatic lid, as is normally the practice in espionage cases. No diplomatic mission publically admits of being victims of espionage. In September 2013, the Indian Embassy wrote to the State Department that Sangeeta, who was an absconder, should be arrested and restored to the Indian Embassy as she had violated both the Indian and the American laws, and had stolen cash, cell-phone and ‘documents’. The documents that Sangeeta stole are believed to be very vital to India’s national interest. Also, it needs to be highlighted that the entire Indian officialdom based in New York, including country’s representative at the UN are housed in the same building. For Sangeeta, the building was a mine of information.

While the US authorities were engaged in protecting their ‘asset’ by fabricating various legal spins, matters exacerbated due to another development in India. On October 12, 2013 an American vessel MV Seaman Guard Ohio, belonging to the US firm AdvanFort, was apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard for unauthorized presence in India’s territorial waters.

When the senior officer in R&AW Mr Ravinder Singh was spirited away with his family by the Americans, the then National Security Advisor of India had commented that the issue was not that there was a mole but why was he so important to the US establishment.

In the instant case the same question becomes relevant, i.e. why Sangeeta Richard, a domestic help of the Deputy Consul General (DCG) Devyani Khobragade, was so important to the Americans that her family was whisked away to the US two days before the criminal treatment meted out to the DCG by the authorities in that country. Was Sangeeta recruited by the US Intelligence Agencies to gain information of Indian diplomatic mission in the US?

A White House official has revealed that the Obama administration was considering a spy swap well before the 10 were arrested on 27 June. White House officials were first briefed on the spy ring in February, while President Barrack Obama was made aware of the case on 11 June.

“The idea of a swap was discussed among the administration’s national security team before the arrests were made,” the source added. According to the White House, the US itself chose the names of the four men to be freed by Moscow.

The findings of the internal inquiry of RAW into the Rabinder Singh episode will never be known even to the Indian Parliament or a parliamentary committee. How then can we be sure of their effectiveness in gathering information and protecting the country.

The Home Minister has to ensure that an oversight mechanism be created to ensure that such vital issues (Rabinder Singh episode) affecting national security are not swept under the carpet and appropriate lessons are drawn from it.

When Mrs Indira Gandhi again became Prime Minister in 1980, she recalled Kao from his retirement and appointed him as her senior advisor on internal and external developments. She used to consult him on political and intelligence matters. His professional guidance was of general nature.

In one major development, when Mrs Gandhi wanted to go USA she was not getting her choice of appointment date with the US President through External Affairs Ministry channels. Kao through his friend George Bush Senior – who was then US Ambassador in China – arranged her meeting with the US President.

India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has been hit by another crisis. A senior female officer, working as a Director in the training branch of the agency at Gurgaon, attempted suicide on August 19 by consuming rat poison outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

Nisha Priya Bhatia took the extreme step after being denied entry to register a complaint regarding her allegations of sexual harassment by some colleagues in the agency.