Rabinder Singh (intelligence officer)

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Rabinder Singh was a joint secretary in the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency, who defected to the United States in 2004.[1][2]

Singh initially served in the Indian Army, reaching the rank of Major.[3] He later volunteered to join R&AW. According to reports, he attracted attention from counter-intelligence officials when he was found photocopying documents not related to his work. After coming under suspicion, he was placed under surveillance and his phone conversations were tapped, but in May 2004, he disappeared. A former senior RAW official in 2018 commented that RAW’s own intransigence at not handing over the investigation to the Intelligence Bureau was to blame for his defection.[4] He is suspected of having escaped to the U.S. via Nepal.[5] In Mission R&AW, a book written by a former R&AW officer, it is claimed that Singh flew to America from Kathmandu along with his wife on May 7, 2004 using a fake identity in the name of Mr and Mrs Rajpal Prasad Sharma. The R&AW unit at Kathmandu did nothing despite clear intelligence on Singh’s escape plans. It is also claimed[by whom?] that R&AW even managed to get copies of their visas and embarkation cards. These documents reveal that the CIA on April 7, 2004, issued US passport number 017384251 to Singh. His wife Parminder Kaur was also given a US passport on the same day in the name of Deepa Kumar Sharma. Both boarded Austrian Air flight number 5032 on May 7, 2004, from Kathmandu. He was assisted by CIA operative David M Vacala.[6]

In 2007, in an affidavit submitted to the court, R&AW deposed that Singh has been traced to New Jersey.[7] It is believed[by whom?] that, meanwhile, Singh has filed for asylum in US, in the name of Surenderjeet Singh, which was rejected by the trial court but remanded back for reconsideration by the court of appeals.[8] There has been no official proof however that Surenderjeet Singh is an alias of Rabinder Singh.[9]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-12-05. Retrieved 2005-09-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Was missing spy Rabinder Singh a CIA mole in RAW? The real behind the scene story" (India Daily)
  2. ^ Spy versus Spy: Games India and the US play
  3. ^ http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/may/19raman.htm "Remember Rabinder Singh?" (Rediff)
  4. ^ https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/two-wayfarers-on-the-bridge-of-spies/300246
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2008-04-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Our Man in New Delhi" (Frontline)
  6. ^ Yadav, Yatish. "Former Spy Reveals Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Rabinder in US, we want him back: RAW in court - Indian Express". www.indianexpress.com. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  8. ^ http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/1979AF53DE5277E988256F7200806B72/$file/0371868.pdf?openelement
  9. ^ "I worked for RAW, was told to kill a Sikh leader: Asylum plea in US court - Indian Express". archive.indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2016-04-05.