Ibrahim to be first Muslim head of IB

Syed Asif Ibrahim will take over as the next director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), the first Muslim officer to head the organisation in its history.

Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Alok Joshi will succeed Sanjeev Tripathi as the new chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Names cleared

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the name of Ibrahim, a 1977 batch IPS officer from Madhya Pradesh cadre and Joshi, a 1976 batch officer of the Haryana cadre, ending months of speculation over who would head the country’s top two intelligence organisations. The clearing of the names comes within two days of the appointment of CBI director Ranjit Sinha.
The IB is responsible for intelligence gathering within the country’s borders, while the RAW is entrusted with the task of gathering external intelligence.

Currently chief of Aviation Research Centre (ARC), the aviation intelligence arms of the RAW, Joshi will take over the charge from Tripathi when the latter retires at end of the year. Joshi has had a stint with the IB, being the station chief at Lucknow, before he came back to RAW and was elevated to head the ARC. Amitabh Mathur will succeed Joshi at ARC.

To make way for Asif Ibrahim, 59, currently IB special director, the government superseded four senior IB officers, R N Gupta, V Rajagopal, Yashovardhan Azad and S Jayaraman, and posted them outside the organisation.

Ibrahim commands respect in the intelligence community and is being described as an able successor to Nehchal Sindhu. Presently, he looks after cyber espionage, apart from other aspects of national security.

Sandhu’s deputy RN Gupta, a 1976 batch IPS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre who has one month to retire, has been shifted as OSD to Cabinet Secretariat, which is clearly a post created outside the IB to pave way for Ibrahim.

Similarly, the number 3, IB V Rajagopal, has been moved to Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) evaluates inteiligence before operational decisions are taken.

Yashowardhan Azad, brother of cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad, has been moved as secretary (security) under the Cabinet Secretary – a slot that in true sense of it does not handle intelligence operation. The Secretary (security) supervises over Special Protection Group, raised to  provide cover to present and previous prime ministers and their immediate families.

The fourth senior officer, S Jayaraman, who was looking after the South operations of the IB, moves to a ceremonial post of head of National Police Academy at Hyderabad. He is a 1977 batch officer of West Bengal cadre.

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