Officials who have seen the content of the N.N. Vohra committee report, and were involved in its preparation, are wondering why the present BJP-led NDA government is following in the footsteps of the previous Congress-led UPA government and refusing to make public a report which named senior Congress leaders as having direct dealings with criminal and terror mastermind Dawood Ibrahim. The report, according to officials who have read it, had named senior Congress leaders, top bureaucrats and police officials who were working for or under the influence of the Mumbai underworld. The underworld was led by India’s most wanted criminal, Dawood Ibrahim during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
These officials claimed that the report had alleged that certain senior Congress leaders were colluding with Dawood, who at the time was involved in hawala, land-grab, drugs and smuggling of weapons. The authenticity of these claims could not be verified by this newspaper independently. These officials claimed that of the leaders who were named, at least a couple are still “very active” in politics.
“We can understand that why successive Congress governments did not make the committee’s findings public, but it is beyond our comprehension why even the present government is following in the Congress’ footsteps. What do they have to lose? Some of Congress’ top brass might be embarrassed if the report becomes public, but it is unlikely to do any damage to any top BJP leadership. In this situation, one can only assume that the present government too has been pressurised successfully to keep quiet,” said one of the few officials closely associated with the report.
According to them, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and other concerned departments within the MHA and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had a copy of the report and it was wrong to say that the report was “untraceable”. The officials were responding to this newspaper’s query if the report might have got misplaced, as the MHA, while replying to the RTI query of this newspaper in June last year, had stated that the “minutes of the meetings related to the N.N. Vohra committee report were not available in the offices”.
“The government should understand that matters of national security cannot be used as a political tool. The Congress was helpless in this case as some of its own partymen were named in the report. Is the BJP helpless, too? We were expecting a very different approach to this issue when Narendra Modi became Prime Minister,” he said.
The report was prepared after taking inputs from different intelligence agencies that included R&AW, IB and state intelligence departments.
The N.N. Vohra committee, which was constituted more than 24 years ago to unearth the criminalisation of politics and the nexus among criminals, bureaucrats and politicians, contains details as to how politicians and bureaucrats helped the criminals, including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim to commit crimes, including the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
The committee, led by former Home Secretary N.N. Vohra, who is presently the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, was constituted in July 1993 soon after the March 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts “to take stock of all available information about the activities of the crime syndicates/mafia organizations which had developed links with, and were being protected by Government functionaries and political personalities”. The findings of the committee were submitted to the government in October 1993. However, it was not until August 1995, when the Central government, facing the heat in the Naina Sahni murder case, agreed to table the report before Parliament. However, the government, under political compulsions, refused to share the major findings of the report and later went to the Supreme Court and took a stay order from court against making the findings of the report public.