Nearly everyone is talking about the Maldives – the coup – the possibility of Islamic fundamentalism raising its ugly head in the Indian Ocean archipelago blah, blah.
None of the television cow-boy or cow-girl journalists seem to know any history – as can be discerned from the repeat telecasts of ill-prepared interviews and worse-prepared ‘expert-chats’.
To be precise, this is the fourth coup attempt in Maldives … and the first one to succeed.
The first two were in 1980 and 1983 respectively against the then President Abdul Gayoom, a known dictator and boot-licker of the Congress.
The third coup attempt – especially due to the multiple Indian angles to it [note the plural please] was the most interesting.
The year was 1988 – date November 1 or 2 [I do not exactly remember].
K Mohandas [arguably the smartest cop in Tamil Nadu, ever and perhaps entire India] used to recall the month of November as one that marked his crowning glory and dethroning ignominy – rolled into one from 1986 onwards.
I shall explain why ... shortly.
My relationship with him had begun in 1980 on a hate-hate basis … which morphed into love-hate from 1982 … and by 1986.
[I will not go into that part at all because that is purely a personal side of a professional relationship.]
There was a phone call from Mohandas around November 1 or 2 1988 – it was late in the evening.
I shall keep the operative portion to that here to a bare minimum.
There is a coup attempt in Maldives. This is being masterminded by some Muslim chap and the men roughly numbering 80 are being supplied by the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam [PLOTE]. They have hijacked a merchant vessel … commanded by a young Indian … one captain Jayadevan. Shortly he is scheduled to marry my daughter Biju. Since many of the Lankan militants hold you in awe, call PLOTE leader Uma Maheshwaran and tell him I want Jayadevan back unharmed.
It was neither an order, nor a request … It was a flatly uttered statement.
To put it mildly, I was shocked.
How did Mohandas know all this?
I know you have Uma Maheshwaran’s secret number … so do I. But, I also happen to know you have some code-word identification that I am yet to crack. Upon identification of that code … PLOTE will do your bidding … and I know it. So get it done.
I called the number.
I identified myself through a protocol that would seem harmless to everyone … but identify me and my situation.
The conversation went thus: [The identity establishment details are given in brackets.]
This is TSV Hari.
[If I had said I am TSV Hari speaking, it would have meant I was under duress.]
How are you comrade? How is your daughter?
[The word comrade meant that the other side was in the midst of an operation. The question about my daughter signified, if it was a new urgent problem, I could say it.]
The daughter isn’t keeping well.
[That mean the problem was new and urgent, marking the completion of the voice transmission handshake protocol.]
I am calling from Mohandas’s phone. You know who he is.
You are organising a coup in Maldives … and have hijacked an Indian ship … captained by one Jayadevan … either he is the captain … or something close to it.
In the name of my friendship, I am calling all my favours. I want Jayadevan back in Madras … safe and sound. I will not take ‘no’ for an answer.
Understood … and the order will be complied with. When you talk in such a language … we cannot say ‘no’ at all, no?
Mohandas was such a patriot that he used that my little trick to spring his future son-in-law to help the Government of India to quell the coup attempt, videOperation Cactus.
Mohandas’s inputs helped India do its bit to save the day in Maldives.
Here is an authoritative account from Squadron Leader A.K. Chordia of what happened in The Maldives.
A decade and over a hundred narrations later, the memory of the day spent in the Maldives is still vivid in my mind. Many of my friends and avid listeners have prodded me in vain to pen down this memoir. My laziness has always taken the better of me and I have managed to shelve the idea for a later date. Today I am finding it rather difficult to ignore the impulse to write, it being the tenth anniversary of a spectacular operation in which I had the proud privilege to take part. Let me begin at the beginning..
It was November 3, 1988. I was all set to proceed to Pune for a skydiving demonstration at the National Defence Academy. The joyous thought of leading a team of prestigious skydiving demonstration at the Alma Mater was a matter of great satisfaction to me. However, all too soon I was jolted out of the ecstasy by orders from Air HQ cancelling our planned move and asking us to await further instructions. Destination unknown..
By mid-afternoon we were preparing to launch para sorties from IL-76 aircraft. Rumours were afloat that we were heading for an operation to assist the IPKF in Sri Lanka. 5 P.M. There was an unusual bustle on the tarmac facing 44 Squadron. Trucks and jeeps were surging past, carrying troops toting arms and equipment. Parachute Jump Instructors could be heard shouting instructions. The ILs were guzzling fuel. The ground crew clinging to the various parts of the aircraft were busy carrying out their checks as the aircrew moved to the two aircraft, signing manifests and form-700 as they paced..
Group Captain AK Goel, the joint Director of Operations (Transports) at Air HQ, had rushed to Agra to lead the Air Force Task Force. Group Captain AG Bewoor, Commanding Officer 44 Squadron was his co-pilot. Settled in the cockpit, the two started their pre-flight checks. In the other aircraft the cacophony of the cargo compartment was interrupted by the crackling of the PA system. It also broke the chain of thought of Brigadier ‘Bull’ Bulsara, the Army Task Force Commander, whose mind was miles ahead of the Task Force, on some unfamiliar island tucked far away -in the Indian Ocean. He was surprised that his aircraft was No 2 in the formation. He sent me running to Group Captain Goel in the other aircraft with a request to change the order; to put his aircraft in the lead. A negative response would not budge the ‘Bull’ who emphasized the operational necessity of his aircraft reaching the objective first. The will to lead from the front was clearly evident in their actions...
Group Captain Goel smartly manoeuvred past the imbroglio by interchanging the crew of the two aircraft. The enthusiasm of the commanders was contagious and inspiring. Doors closed. The whine of the auxiliary power unit was soon lost in the roar of the mighty jets. A seismologist in the vicinity recorded a five on the Richter scale. As the sun set on the sleepy, smog-filled city of the Taj, ‘Friendly One’ and ‘Friendly Two’ rose above the horizon. The paratroopers hailed, “Chhatri Mata ki Jai”(long live Goddess parachute). The Indian Air Force and the Indian Army had embarked on a daring airborne operation,'Operation Cactus’, otherwise known as the Maldives Operations in popular parlance..
The aircraft soon climbed to their cruising altitudes and commenced level flight. Once again, activity reached a high -pitch in the cargo compartment. The Army Officers and JCOs could be seen engrossed in animated discussions. I was amazed to see glossy travel magazines and books on the Maldives instead of the much familiar quarter inch or million maps in the hands of the men in fatigues. The notice had been too short to enable procurement of maps for military use. As minutes ticked by, we came to know the details, by bits and pieces..
Over a thousand miles down south, the fate of a country and its President lay in the hands of a band of mercenaries. President MA Gayoom and the forces loyal to him were fending for themselves. The only hope was the military assistance promised by Rajiv Gandhi. Miles away from the mainland, it was a daring operation undertaken by the Indian Armed Forces at the shortest notice. It was, indeed, a race against time, when the fate of a nation hung by a slender thread.
The friendly formation was still over an hour away from HuIule, the island with runway. I saw a gentleman sitting quietly in the rear part of the cockpit. It was unusual to find someone in ‘civvies’ in the aircraft on such a mission. My -curiosity made me break ice with him. Next minute I was face to face with Mr A Banerjee, the Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives—the only man on board the aircraft who knew what the island looked like. Even as the atmosphere became more and more tense, I felt that it was a rare opportunity for me, a Flight Lieutenant of the Ground Duties branch to be associated with operations of that nature and magnitude. I wanted to carry enviable memories. Without much hesitation, I flipped open my scribble pad in front of the HC, “Sir, please pen down your thoughts for me.” Mr Banerjee obliged with, “I hope that everything goes off as planned.”
Finding Brigadier Bulsara deeply engrossed in thoughts, I approached him. “Sir, what’s uppermost in your mind at this instant?” I said and flashed my diary. He wrote, “By l000hrs tomorrow we will secure the President and the airstrip”, and returned the diary with a smile. I could not muster courage to go to Group Captain Goel with a similar request as he was concentrating on flying the aircraft. The runway was considered safe and the Air Traffic Control granted permission to the formation to land. Parachutes were placed aside and the troops prepared to walk out of the aircraft with their equipment after landing. I volunteered to provide assistance to the subsequent aircraft formation in case it was decided to carry out a para drop.
MWO Karam Singh joined me. We followed the Army troops out of the aircraft. The troops soon broke into small sections and headed for their objectives. We followed a section of men to the ATC. In minutes after landing, the troops had taken control of the ATC. And then a word of assurance from Brigadier Bulsara to President Gayoom 'Mr President, we have arrived'... Troops were soon heading stealthily in small boats towards the Presidential Palace on the adjoining island. Then there was an eerie silence broken only by the occasional landing of the IAF aircraft. Around 3 AM the menacing silence was shattered by the sound of firing of small and medium arms. It seemed there was an exchange of fire between a ship heading for high seas and the Indian troops on the island. Each boom of the gun sent shivers down the spine. One wasn’t really clear about the direction of fire. By daybreak the mercenaries had fled and the situation was under control. The Air Force and the Naval aircraft launched another operation to track down the vessel carrying the mercenaries..
I grabbed the opportunity to visit Male in a speed boat. I met Major Mohammad Zahir, the Chief of the National Security Service of the Maldives who handed me a note of appreciation for the assistance given by the Indian Armed Forces. He gave me his formation sign and cap badge as a souvenir. I thanked him for an invitation extended by him knowing fully well that I would not be able to avail the generous offer to visit the beautiful island archipelago ever again..
Chordia is now a Parachute Jump Instructor who trains Army paratroopers and conducts peacetime exercises. He was the first to make a ‘Parachute Formation’ over Indian skies.
So why did the 1980 hate-hate turn to love-hate since 1986?
Mohandas headed the intelligence department in Tamil Nadu between 1977 and 1986.
Like a few crazy people like me, notwithstanding the popular sentiment in Tamil Nadu, Mohandas felt that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were more terrorists than freedom fighters.
“As far the CM [late MGR] is concerned, they are a necessary evil. The reason is that other groups are currying favour with Karunanidhi – who takes money from them regularly … and claims to espouse their cause. Thanks to his own Lankan origins, the CM understands that island very well. Though I keep telling the CM that nurturing or occasionally funding the LTTE is like feeding milk to a black cobra as it can bit anytime,” Mohandas used to say.
“Tackling terrorists has to be done in only one way … the way the terrorists operate … that is beyond all known tenets of law. Try doing that and that will end terrorism once and for all. If the government of India wishes and says so in writing, I can end at least the LTTE brand of terrorism in precisely 24 hours,” Mohandas used to add.
It was not an empty boast.
In a dawn to dusk endeavour, vide Operation Tiger, in November 1986, Mohandas managed to disarm all the militants [not just the LTTE, but all.]
I had personally witnessed that entire operation from Mohandas’s room.
One of the officers who took part in the operation is the present DGP K Ramanujam who had gone to retrieve arms from outside Chennai.
After being fingerprinted in Shastri Nagar Police Station like a common criminal, Prabhakaran had been brought to Mohandas’s presence upon the LTTE boss’s insistence.
Prabhakaran shouted his head off … calling Mohandas a Tamil traitor …
The moustached cop watched him with a bored expression smoking his Classic Regular cigarettes almost ceaselessly and at length nodded towards me.
“Someone else who knows too much about your patriotism is sitting here as well,” Mohandas told Prabhakaran with a sneer.
Prabhakaran hadn’t seen me as my back was towards him and the chair had mostly hidden my frame.
Mohandas had been given a copy of my expose about the LTTE published in The Amrita Bazar Patrika – as to how many times Prabhakaran’s mates had got caught by Lankan cops – unerringly after every escape of Prabhakaran after looting some bank or other.
The material had been syndicated then by me and my friend K.M. Thomas through our little Features’ Agency Southern Features – which I edit these days.
Further, I had slapped Prabhakaran way back in 1981 – for I had been under the influence of liquor on that day. One of his flunkeys – Baby Subramanian had talked to me disrespectfully. That the idiot Baby is now in Lankan custody is another story.
Those days, I was a devil-may-care journalist … known for my boorish behaviour, something that Thuglak Editor and one of my mentors Mr Cho Ramaswamy always found fault with.
“Your talents are getting wasted because of your outrageous behaviour,” he said then and continues to say so even now.
And I am of the opinion that he was right then, and he is right even now.
And Mohandas knew all that. But, the old man used to like my boorish behaviour!
Prabhakaran took one look at me and quietened down.
“Don’t look like a drowned cat … Thambi [an alias of the LTTE boss] because I will certainly stop Hari from slapping you again … at least in my presence. You are my ‘honoured guest’ aren’t you now?” Mohandas had asked with a guffaw.
Here is the official version of Operation Tiger.
Letter No. SR II/2881/86 dated 6.11.86
"Copy of telex from Home, New Delhi addressed to the ChiefSec. Tamil Nadu, Madras - No. VI- 23014/ 29/86 .GPA III Dated 4.11.86
From V.K. Jain to Shri A. Padmanabhan
There are reports that militant Tamil groups and individuals based in Tamil Nadu propose to indulge into violent activities and might even attempt to cause physical harm to the security of Shri Jayewardene, President of Sri Lanka during his forthcoming visit to Bangalore from 15th to 17th November, 1986, in connection with the SAARC Summit (.) It is requested that suitable instructions should be issued to the Police and security authorities to ensure very stringent security arrangements for the Conference particularly for the protection of the President of Sri Lanka (.) Watch should also be kept on the likely movements of Sri Lankan Tamil militants and their sympathisers towards Bangalore from now onwards till the end of the Summit (.) The Intelligence Bureau is being requested to furnish details of Tamil militants and other extremist groups to Director General of Police (.)"
Excerpts from the affidavit of K. Mohandas filed upon request to Jain Commission that went into the conspiracy that led to the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi:
"On 4th November, 1986, a message (copy appended herewith as Annexure I) was received by the Chief Secretary to the Govt. of Tamil Nadu from the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi asking the police and security authorities in Tamil Nadu to ensure very stringent security arrangements for the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit scheduled to be held in Bangalore from November 15 to 17, as President Jayewardene would be participating in the Conference.
The message particularly stated that a watch should be kept on likely movements of Sri Lankan Tamil militants towards Bangalore as they might even attempt to cause physical harm to President Jayewardene. The message further stated that the IB was being requested to furnish details of the Tamil militants and other extremist groups to DGP, thereby revealing that this information was till then not conveyed to the State Intelligence.
The next day, MGR summoned me and straightaway asked me to disarm the Sri Lankan militants based in Tamil Nadu. He added that this action had to be taken under instructions from the Prime Minister, in view of the SAARC summit scheduled to be held shortly in Bangalore which was being attended by President Jayewardene and also because of unlawful activities indulged in by the militants in Tamil Nadu in spite of attempts to control them.
I told the Chief Minister that this was an almost impossible task in view of the sophisticated weapons known to be in possession of the militants and that this was a matter which should be more appropriately handled by the Army or Para-military forces.
I also told him that it was politically unwise for the Tamil Nadu Government to take such an action as the matter involved a foreign country and therefore it fell under the Centre's Jurisdiction. MGR told me that the Prime Minister was reluctant to use the army or confrontation, there would be international ramifications. MGR further told me that I should "somehow" disarm the militants, as he had given his word to the Prime Minister that the Tamil Nadu Government would undertake the task.
When I told MGR that I had to think about it and formulate a plan which would be least risky to the police officers and men to be involved in the disarming exercise, he informed me that the Central agencies like the RAW and the IB should not be informed about the operation and that even the State's top officials like the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary should be kept in the dark about the details of my plan, as it involved a great risk, and any leak, intentional or otherwise, might cost the lives of thousands of men.
I agreed with him that the exercise had necessarily to be a Top Secret one and that I would not be in a position to inform even MGR as to when and how I proposed to strike. He agreed with his usual thumbs-up sigh, but instructed that it should be carried bout with expedition--at any rate before the SAARC summit in Bangalore.
I had a sleepless night turning over in my mind various methods by which the suicidal task could be carried out with minimum damage. Finally I hit upon a plan, with a large dose of psychological input, which I thought might work, given a good amount of luck. The operation was slated for the early hours of November 8, 1986.
The plan worked, resulting in the seizure of large quantities of sophisticated armaments and ammunition worth about Rs.40 crores (approximately Rs.120 crores in today's international market) from militant groups spread over Madras city and 10 districts.
This was done without firing a single shot or spilling a drop of blood.
Taken by surprise, the militants including the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran appeared at the respective police stations, mostly of their own accord. They were photographed and, in some cases, video graphed so that we could have a head-count and identification for the C.I.D. files. As the orders were only for disarming them, they were not arrested, but let off after questioning. The whole operation code named 'Operation Tiger' lasted only 4 hours i.e. from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on 8th Nov, 1986.
When I met MGR at his residence on his return from Delhi, he instructed me to make available LTTE supremo Prabhakaran for consultations over the phone, and that he (MGR) would be proceeding to Bangalore. He vaguely hinted that there might be some talks there.
That night, I got a call from Bangalore from a senior IB official (Dr.K.V.H.Padmanabhan, Joint Director, IB stationed in Madras) stating that MGR desired that Prabhakaran and his political advisor Anton Balasingham should be flown immediately to Bangalore by a special I.A.F. aircraft which was waiting for them at the Air Force Station, Tambaram. I crosschecked with MGR who confirmed what the IB official had conveyed. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr P. Chidambaram, was also learnt to be present in Bangalore. I did what I was asked to do, after taking the precaution of frisking the LTTE supremo and his advisor and sending two CID officers as security guards in the flight.
Apparently angry at the outcome of the Bangalore talks, MGR asked me to seize the wireless sets which the militants were clandestinely using for communication with Sri Lanka and between certain points in Tamil Nadu I told him that this was not advisable, because the Intelligence agencies were monitoring the traffic over the wireless. If the wireless sets were to be seized and put out of action the intelligence agencies would be deprived of a reliable source that would furnish information about the intentions and the activities of the militants. But MGR was insistent and the sets were seized without any resistance. An annoyed Prabhakaran went on a fast in protest against the seizure of the wireless sets. Added to this was a public statement issued by Union Minister for Home Affairs, Mr P. Chidambaram, that the Centre was not consulted or informed of the seizure of the wireless sets. MGR instructed me to return not only the wireless sets but also the arms and ammunition seized during "Operation Tiger" to the militants, I felt that matters had come to a head and refused to be a party to this dangerous enterprise."
That evening after conducting Operation Tiger successfully, he told me over a drink – “the only arms Tamil militants have now are the ones they were born with.”
“I love that statement but I hate your believing in the power of your chair. You are perhaps the best cop I have come across, but you have begun believing in your invincibility. One day, politicians will let you down and your statements during this hour of glory will turn bitter ones of your ruing your own career’s ruin,” I remember telling him.
It happened very soon. Mohandas was shifted from his pivotal position.
Nobody cares to remember today that if the AIADMK is in power today as a party, it was saved for its future existence by none other than Mohandas when the DMK chief Karunanidhi plotted to exploit the charismatic Chief Minister MGR's illness from 1984 onwards to rule by proxy. Mohandas had never let that happen.
But then, what are the lives of a few good men?
Mohandas’s stand vis-à-vis the LTTE was never ambiguous.
In an interview granted to Shobha Warrier of Rediff.com, Mohandas has been quoted as saying thus [excerpts]:
It is said that sympathy for Sri Lankan Tamils started in Tamil Nadu during MGR’s period. You were then the topmost police officer. When did you realise that MGR was sympathetic to the Tamil militants?
It is not correct to say that MGR was sympathetic to Tamil militants. The political circumstances forced him to take an attitude in which he had to support the militants, particularly because of the attitude of the Government of India.
Does that mean the Centre was more sympathetic to Tamil militants than Tamil Nadu?
As I was chief of intelligence, Tamil Nadu from 1977 to 1986, I was in a rather privileged position to study and analyse the twists, turns and gyrations of India’s Sri Lankan policy, a policy which in all probability had a bearing on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The hallmark of India’s Sri Lankan policy, which was created at the time of Mrs Gandhi by her foreign policy advisors led by G Parthasarathy, was what I may call its ‘consistent inconsistency’. India first created the LTTE monster, then maintained it, and now seeks to destroy it.
Had MGR no hand in the policy?
At that time he had no hand in it. The policy was formulated by G Parthasarathy, chairman of the Planning Committee, and M K Rasgotra, the foreign secretary, reportedly based on inputs from the intelligence agencies, RAW and IB headed respectively by Girish Saxena, R K Kapoor, and their successors. I must tell you one thing, the intelligence agencies work in such a top secret fashion on such sensitive issues that there is little scope for documentary and or other evidence being left behind; they are normally destroyed. Anyway, let me say that it was a dual policy. Being committed to Sri Lanka’s integrity on the one hand and permitting training of militant groups on Indian soil on the other.
No wonder Rajiv Gandhi, while inheriting the policy, had reportedly said he had his own reservations about the inherent contradictions in the policy. He asked, how can we then charge Pakistan with helping militants in Punjab and Kashmir? But the policy advisors and intelligence agencies, who had vested interests in continuing the policy, blocked Rajiv Gandhi on some pretext or the other from putting the block back.
Who were the vested interests?
One: egoism of the top, behind the scene men. Two: when a person sets on a course, he is forced to continue the same line despite adverse factors arising during the course because he is afraid that his original stand may be questioned. Large unaudited finds are placed at the disposal of intelligence agencies for secret operations. There were reports in Indian Express dated 9th and 10th July 1992 that some members of Parliament had called for expenditure incurred by RAW to be sanctioned by a parliamentary intelligence committee in view of suspected embezzlement.
You said political circumstances forced MGR to take a supporting attitude to the Tamil militants. But that is not the general belief. What was his real attitude to militancy?
That is not a correct thing to say. MGR, like any other person in power, was only interested in continuing in power. When the Centre said do this, he did that. He might have had his own reservations. We are not able to say what was in his mind because he was the most difficult man to understand.
You were then in charge of the police. Didn’t he ever express his feelings about militants to you?
He always gave the impression that we must follow whatever the Indian government said. What he said was, after all Tamil Nadu is a state of India and this particular policy comes under foreign affairs in which the states have no option.
It was reported that there were camps for the militants here and they were getting arms supplies too. Is it not true that the people and politicians of Tamil Nadu backed the militants more than the people of any other state in India?
This influx of Tamil militants to Tamil Nadu happened firstly because of the persecution policy followed by Sri Lanka. Secondly, this decision to bring those militants here to give them training was taken in Delhi. Whatever Delhi said, MGR followed. I told him several times that it was a very dangerous policy because Tamil Nadu was becoming a land of gun-and-bomb culture.
Was he not scared of the bomb culture that was growing here then?
That is not a right question in the sense that nobody in power in afraid of bombs and guns because they know how to protect themselves. Do you know the politician despises the professional?
But many leaders could not protect themselves. It boomeranged in the end. Whether it was Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi.
These are very sensitive past issues. There is no point in talking about it now. But the influx of Tamil militants was not confined to Tamil Nadu alone. They were given training in many places in north India as well.
There were more training camps in Tamil Nadu and they got more publicity too.
It might have been so. But the quality of the training is more important than the training itself. Yet, it is all very well known. The photographs of the places where the training camps were held also got worldwide publicity. There were training camps in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi. But they were trained by central agencies and there were no training centres run by Tamil Nadu. Is it news to you that the Tamil Nadu government did not run any training camps?
But MGR did one thing. He gave financial support to them. The training camps were done in a hush-hush manner, but he gave money to them openly. It was the government’s money.
That means he was sympathetic to the Tamil militants.
You are jumping to conclusions. He gave money. You may give money to help them you may also do it to help yourself. When people are scared, they do that.
Jayadevan came back unharmed and is now happily married to Biju. They live in Chennai.
Mr AX Alexander who took part in the operation’s cleaning up bit in its latter part retired as DGP and is still alive.
Mr Ramanujam who also was part of the operation currently heads the state police as its DGP.
Additional Director General of Police Thukkiandi who had been part of Operation Tiger was suspended on the last day of his service.
Mr Mohandas passed away in September 2000. Here are excerpts from The Hindu’s tribute:
CHENNAI, SEPT. 22. Mr K Mohandas, former Director-General of Police, CID, Tamil Nadu, died in a private hospital here today after a brief illness.
He was 68.
Born in Palakkad, Kerala, Mohandas joined the 1956 batch of the IPS, topping the all India list and was allotted to the Tamil Nadu cadre.
He had served in Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur, Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts as Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of Police.
He had a stint as Commandant of the then Malabar Special Police in Nagaland during the Chinese aggression. He also served the CBI for six years from 1970 where he was promoted as DIG.
He gradually rose to the rank of DGP on his return to the State. He served the CID for nearly a decade.
It was during this tenure as chief of the police Intelligence wing, he was known as the late chief minister, M.G. Ramachandran's confidante.
His contribution in shaping Tamil Nadu's policy towards Sri Lankan Tamil militancy became the subject of nationwide review and debate.
He directed operations for disarming Sri Lankan Tamil militants in Tamil Nadu and also guided the anti-naxalite operations in Dharmapuri district in the eighties.
Does India have any foreign policy worth its name … even at this stage of the Maldives coup?
I will quote Mohandas again to explain:
Intelligence agencies work in such a top secret fashion on such sensitive issues that there is little scope for documentary and or other evidence being left behind; they are normally destroyed.
Rajiv Gandhi had reportedly said he had his own reservations about the inherent contradictions in the [India’s Sri Lanka] policy. He asked, how can we then charge Pakistan with helping militants in Punjab and Kashmir? But the policy advisors and intelligence agencies, who had vested interests in continuing the policy, blocked Rajiv Gandhi on some pretext or the other from putting the block back.
[The vested interests are:]
One: egoism of the top, behind the scene men.
Two: when a person sets on a course, he is forced to continue the same line despite adverse factors arising during the course because he is afraid that his original stand may be questioned.
Large unaudited finds are placed at the disposal of intelligence agencies for secret operations.
There were reports in Indian Express dated 9th and 10th July 1992 that some members of Parliament had called for expenditure incurred by RAW to be sanctioned by a parliamentary intelligence committee in view of suspected embezzlement!
To put it lightly, vested interests continue controlling India’s foreign policy.
I miss Mohandas … perhaps the smartest Indian cop, ever.
When I see amateurs doing reporting these days, I laugh out loud. What else can I do?
Note: This blog has been updated after the original date of its publication.