B. Bhattacharjee, Deputy Secretary, Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat, filed a
complaint with CBI, asking for legal action to be taken against petitioner Major General
(retired) V.K. Singh under the terms of the Officials Secrets Act of 1923. As a result, CBI
filed FIR RC No.5 (S)/2007-SIU.V on September 20, 2007, charging the petitioner.
In the FIR, the petitioner is accused of disclosing classified material through the publication of his
book, “India’s External Intelligence- Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)”. On
September 20, 2007, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate granted search warrants in response
to a request from the CBI, allowing CBI personnel to examine the petitioner’s property. After
the search, a compliance report was filed.
The petitioner’s learned attorney claims that the goal of writing the book was to draw
attention to two significant problems: a lack of accountability and corruption in the country’s
foreign intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (abbreviated “R&AW”). The
petitioner claims that he disclosed any instances of corruption that came to his attention while
he was working for R&AW.
The Learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the petitioner’s intention to write the
book was to highlight two major issues, that is, lack of accountability and corruption in the
Research and Analysis Wing (in short „R&AW‟) the country’s external intelligence agency.
According to a learned Trial Court order dated April 17, 2008, the charge sheet and the
complaint case against the petitioner were both marked. On the complaint for the offence
punishable under Sections 3 and 5 of the OSA and the charge sheet for the offence punishable
under Section 409 read with Section 120B of the IPC, the learned CMM took cognizance on
January 31, 2009; however, sanctions were received on April 1, 2009. So, a petition asking
for the revocation of the FIR and charge sheet was submitted.
Later, a request for a stay of the trial (Crl. M.A. No. 1652/2009) was made, and this Court, by order dated February 13, 2009, exempted the petitioner from appearing before the learned Trial Court under the condition that he be represented by counsel. The order is still in effect today.
The petitioner then requested an adjustment to the prayer in the petition by filing Crl. M.A.
10197/2019, which also called for the complaint to be dismissed.
Singh said in his petition that he wished to expose two significant issues: inadequate
transparency and immorality within RAW, a nation’s foreign intelligence branch.
However, Justice Mukul Gupta remarked that the CBI’s issue is concerning the revelation of
the officers’ identities, the location of the venues, as well as suggestions of the Working
Group of Ministers, among other things.
The bench added that the judicial system cannot judge what endangers national security.
Thus, when the witnesses are interviewed, it would be a subject of trial to determine if the
petitioner’s discoveries in his book are likely to harm India’s sovereignty and integrity, as well
as the safety of the country.
On September 20, 2007, the CBI launched an investigation on Singh using the Official
Secrets Act after receiving a complaint from B Bhattacharjee, Deputy Secretary, Govt. of
India, Cabinet Secretariat.
The bench stated in its 49-page judgment that while the “entire tenor of the petitioner’s book
emphasises numerous abnormalities etc, at RAW,” the CBI’s complaint was concerning “the
identity of the officers, whereabouts of the places, as well as suggestions of the GOM, etc.”
The bench stated that even in this specific case, the petitioner has copied verbatim the
suggestions of the GOM that were omitted from publication. The court also stated that the
petitioner relied largely on additional texts and articles in which allusions to the GOM proposals were made, but it should be emphasised that none of those writings or publications
replicated the former directly.