The Narendra Modi government is unlikely to remove the director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) Syed Asif Ibrahim. Ibrahim was appointed by the Congress-led UPA II government. He is the first Muslim to be appointed to the highly-sensitive post.
The then government had superseded three IPS officers of the 1976 batch — V Rajgopal, RN Gupta and Yashovardhan Azad — and appointed Ibrahim, who belongs to the 1977 batch and belongs to the Madhya Pradesh cadre, to the top post apparently with an eye on the Muslim vote bank.
Sources point out that there are several reasons why the Modi dispensation may not ease him out. The first is that Ibrahim has a fixed two-year tenure which ends on December 31, 2014. Also, Ibrahim is a thorough professional who has spoken out his mind to the Congress regime. The Manmohan Singh government reportedly wanted him to fix Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat, in the Ishrat Jahan encounter, but Ibrahim declined to act in the absence of credible evidence.
Also, Ibrahim stood by IB officials, including Rajendra Kumar, who was heading the IB establishment in Gujarat, who were also sought to be falsely implicated in certain terror-related cases in Gujarat. Ibrahim had warned the PMO that the arrest of even a single IB officer by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing terror cases in Gujarat, would have an adverse impact on the IB across the country.
The officials concerned were only performing their duty and it would be unfair to drag them into allegedly fake encounters carried out by the local police. Also, it is felt that removing Ibrahim would send a wrong message to the minorities, especially when Modi has talked about taking all sections of the population along with him.
Ibrahim has n impeccable service record and has played a major role in counter-terror operations in Kashmir and Naxal-dominated areas. He was particularly liked by the late Madhavrao Scindia and had worked under him as his principal secretary when Scindia was the railway minister.
Meanwhile, it is certain that Ajit Doval, former director of the Intelligence Bureau, will be the new national security advisor to the Modi government. He retired as the IB director in 2005. Before that he was chief of the IB's operations wing. He had played extremely critical roles in curbing terrorism in Punjab, anti-terror operations all over India and was the principal negotiator in the Kandahar hijack crisis.
A former IPS officer of the Kerala cadre, Doval is the only police officer to be given the prestigious Kirti Chakra for his outstanding services to the nation. After retirement he founded the Vivekanand International Centre (VIC) in Delhi to research strategic and conflict-resolution issues. The VIC's advisory board includes former chief of RAW AN Verma and RSS idealogue S. Gurumurthy.