Tapan Deka appointed as new head of IB, another extension to RAW chief Samant Goel
Tapan Deka, special director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), has been appointed as the new chief of the central intelligence agency. He will replace the incumbent Arvind Kumar after his term ends on June 30. Meanwhile, Samant Goel, the current head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has been given a further extension of one year in his tenure which ends on June. 30.
The Center on Thursday appointed former Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta as the new chief of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Swagat Das, special director in IB, as special secretary in the home ministry.
Deka, a 1988 batch IPS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, will have a fixed tenure of two years. He has superseded his senior special director A Sema Rajan, a 1987 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, in the appointment.
Deka, who handles the Operations Division of the Intelligence Bureau, has decades of experience in dealing with terrorism. He was the Joint Director of Operations when the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was at the peak of its sabotage activities in the country. Under him, the Intelligence Bureau tracked and booked each of his henchmen over the years. The Indian Mujahideen has been practically incapacitated since the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal from Nepal in 2012 and the subsequent arrest of Tehseen Akhtar.
Deka was also handling operations during the 2015–16 Pathankot airbase attack and the 2019 Pulwama attack. He follows in the footsteps of former IB chiefs like Ajit Doval and Nehchal Sandhu who took over operations early in their career before heading the agency.
Recently, DEKA has particularly focused on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir where civilians have been increasingly targeted over the past few months. In fact, since October last year, since the killings of migrants and Kashmiri Pandits started in the valley, Deka has been visiting the valley every fortnight. He has also accompanied Union Home Minister Amit Shah on all his visits to Jammu and Kashmir. After Deka takes over as the new chief of the IB, bringing the situation in Kashmir back under control and reining in the recruitment of youth in terror groups will remain a challenge.
Goyal’s extension indicates that he continues to enjoy the government’s trust despite a failed operation to bring back Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud accused Mehul Choksi to India. However, sources said that the external intelligence agency under Goyal is gathering quality intelligence on cross-border infiltration from Pakistan, which has resulted in good operations by security forces against terrorists in Kashmir.
Goyal is a Punjab cadre officer and was appointed as RAW chief last year. He was given an extension of tenure last year. He has previously served in London and Dubai. Goel, who has been credited with counter-intelligence work against Khalistani forces during his tenure in London, replaced R Kumar, the then senior most officer in RAW, in 2019. Kumar, who heads the Pakistan desk, is largely credited with the security establishment. The Pulwama attack of February 14 that year was followed by the successful Balakot strikes.