Six: BritonsSix British former soldiers released from Indian jail
Six British former soldiers have been released from an Indian prison four years after being arrested and detained on weapons charges.The so-called Chennai Six, who had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, won an appeal against their convictions on Monday.
They have now been escorted out of Chennai Central Prison by British consulate officials.
They said they were discussing the next step with the Indian authorities.
The Chennai Six: What is their story?
Lawyers representing the men say they will have to spend some more time in India before they can expect to return home.
The men were working on the anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by the US-based company AdvanFort, when they were arrested in 2013.
- Nick Dunn from Ashington, Northumberland
- Billy Irving from Connel, Argyll
- Ray Tindall from Chester
- Paul Towers from Pocklington, East Yorkshire
- John Armstrong from Wigton, Cumbria
- Nicholas Simpson from Catterick, North Yorkshire
Initially the charges were quashed when the men argued the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes and the paperwork, issued by the UK government, was in order.
But a lower court reinstated the prosecution and in January 2016 they were sentenced to five years in prison.
The men's families welcomed the acquittal, and some have already spoken to their relatives.
'Emotional issues'Billy Irving's partner, Yvonne McHugh, said that when his call came through as a private number she assumed it was another press call.
"Then it was his amazing voice at the end of the phone," she added.
"He just said hello and I screamed down the phone. Then he just said 'I'm out'.
"He's free. He's actually out of that prison for good. It's just the most phenomenal news I could ever have got."
Ray Tindall's mother, Carole Edwards, said: "Half past seven this morning, phone call - hello mum.
"Oh, that was absolutely gorgeous to listen to him, I started crying. It was just so lovely to talk to him because there's no communication at all while they're in jail. It's letters or parcels, you can't do anything else.
"Oh it'll be such a good present to have Christmas. It'll be lovely."
Joanne Thomlinson, the sister of John Armstrong, said: "As ecstatic as we all are at them being released, there are going to be emotional issues around that and it is going to be difficult for them to adapt.
"And as well it's not a case that they're on a plane straight home... they're yet again going to have to stay in India while the paper work gets sorted and I think that's quite difficult for them, because they've done that before in 2014 they were released from prison and had to stay in India."
A British consulate spokesman said: "The government shares their happiness.
"We are working with the Indian authorities to discuss the next step and we will continue to offer the men and their families consular assistance for as long as needed."
WHEN BRITAIN LEFT INDIA IN 1947 IT WAS THOUGHT INDIA WILL DISINTEGRATE INTO 300+ODD LOCAL MAHARAJA RULED STATES ,WHILE PAKISTAN WAS SUCCESSFULLY INSTALLED BY UK SUPPORTED,FUNDED AND INSTIGATED JINNAH
BRITAIN WAS HOPING AGAINST HOPE THAT THE COMMUNAL PARTIES ALLOWED FROM 1920'S UNDER VICEROY CURZON WILL TAKE INDIA ALSO INTO A SIMILAR FATE AS JINNAH DID TO PAKISTAN ,BUT FAILED
Related readings from wikipedia
The decision to effect the Partition of Bengal (Bengali: বঙ্গভঙ্গ) was announced in 7 July 1905 by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The partition took place on 16 October 1905 and separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas.
Part of a series on the
|History of Bengal|
Part of a series on the
|History of Bangladesh|
BackgroundThe provincial state of Bengal had an area of 189,000 mi2 and a population of nearly 78.5 million. It comprised to West Bengal with a Hindu majority and East Bengal and Assam with a Muslim majority. It included the Hindi-speaking regions of Bihar, the Odia-speaking regions of Odisha as well as the Assamese-speaking region of Assam, making it a huge administrative entity. Moreover, the capital, Calcutta, was also the capital of the entire British India. With the growing efforts of the Indian National Congress to secure the independence of India, Lord Curzon decided to address both these problems by partitioning Bengal into two entities, which would result in a Muslim-majority in the eastern half, and a Hindu-majority in the western half. This he hoped would reduce the administrative pressures and divide the population on religious grounds, quelling the Indian Independence Movement.
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The partition was made on 16 October, by Viceroy Curzon. The former province of Bengal was divided into two new provinces "Bengal" (comprising western Bengal as well as the province of Bihar and Orissa) and Eastern Bengal and Assam with Dacca as the capital of the latter. Partition was promoted for administrative reasons since Bengal was geographically as large as France and had a significantly larger population. Curzon stated the eastern region was neglected and under-governed. By splitting the province, an improved administration could be established in the east, where subsequently, the population would benefit from new schools and employment opportunities.
The partition was generally supported by the Muslims of East Bengal by both their poor economic conditions in East Bengal and the perceived dominance of the Hindu businessmen and landlords in West Bengal over the governance of Bengal. Most of the factories and mills in Bengal were established in and around Calcutta, while many sources of raw materials for these factories were in East Bengal. Furthermore, most of the educational institutions of the Province were in Calcutta, including the lone university in Bengal.
The scars resulting from the partition of Bengal have never completely healed and can still be seen today.
Given below is the proclamation of partition:
"The Governor-General is pleased to constitute the territories at present under the administration of the Chief Commissioner of Assam to be for the purposes of the Indian Councils Act 1861... a province to which the provisions of that Act touching the making of laws and regulations for the peace and good order of the presidencies of Fort St. George and Bombay shall be applicable and to direct that the said province shall be called and known as the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam.... The Governor-General in Council is pleased to specify the sixteenth day of October, 1905 as the period at which the said provisions shall take effect and 15th as the number of councilors whom the Lieutenant-Governor may nominate for his assistance in making laws and regulations. The Governor-General in Council is further pleased to declare and appoint that upon the constitution of the said province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, the districts of Dacca, Mymensingh, Faridpur, Backergunge, Tippera, Noakhali, Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Rajashahi, Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Rangpur, Bogra, Pabna, and Malda which now form part of the Bengal Division of the Presidency of Fort William shall cease to be subject to or included within the limits of that Division, and shall thenceforth be subject to and included within the limits of the Lieutenant-Governorship of the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam."
The reason behind the partition that was officially announced was that the Bengal province was too large to be administered by a single governor and so it would be partitioned on administrative purpose. The real reason behind the partition was political and not administrative. East Bengal was dominated by the Muslims and West Bengal by the Hindus. Partition was yet another part of the divide and rule policy. The following excerpts from Curzon's letter of 2 February 1905 to St. John Brodrick, Secretary of State for India, give an idea of his aims in partitioning Bengal:
"Calcutta is the centre from which the Congress Party is manipulated throughout the whole of Bengal, and indeed the whole of India. Its best wire pullers and its most frothy orators all reside here. The perfection of their machinery, and the tyranny which it enables them to exercise are truly remarkable. They dominate public opinion in Calcutta; they affect the High Court; they frighten the local Government, and they are sometimes not without serious influence on the Government of India. The whole of their activity is directed to creating an agency so powerful that they may one day be able to force a weak government to give them what they desire. Any measure in consequence that would divide the Bengali-speaking population; that would permit independent centres of activity and influence to grow up; that would dethrone Calcutta from its place as the center of successful intrigue, or that would weaken the influence of the lawyer class, who have the entire organisation in their hands, is intensely and hotly resented by them. The outcry will be loud and very fierce, but as a native gentleman said to me – 'my countrymen always howl until a thing is settled; then they accept it'."
Political crisisPartition sparked an extremely major political crisis along religious lines. Hindu resistance exploded as the Indian National Congress began the Swadeshi movement that included boycotting British goods and public institutions, meetings and processions, forming committees, propaganda through press, and diplomatic pressure. Hitherto untouched sections of Indian society participated in these movements, providing base for later movements. Richness of the movement extended to culture, science and literature. Masses were educated for a bolder form of politics and colonial hegemony was undermined. The Muslims in East Bengal hoped that a separate region would give them more control over education and employment, hence, they opposed those movements. Rabindranath Tagore wrote Banglar Mati Banglar Jol as a rallying cry for proponents of annulment of Partition.
Opposition to the partition was supported by Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton who had been Chief Commissioner of Assam, but Curzon was not to be moved. Later, Cotton, now Liberal MP for Nottingham East coordinated the successful campaign to oust the first lieutenant- governor of East Bengal, Sir Bampfylde Fuller.
Re-unificationDue to these political protests, the two parts of Bengal were reunited on 12 December 1911. A new partition which divided the province on linguistic, rather than religious grounds followed, with the Hindi, Oriya and Assamese areas separated to form separate administrative units: Bihar and Orissa Province was created to the west, and Assam Province to the east. The administrative capital of British India was moved from Calcutta to New Delhi as well.
AftermathIn 1909, separate elections were established for Muslims and Hindus. Before this, many members of both communities had advocated national solidarity of all Bengalis. With separate electorates, distinctive political communities developed, with their own political agendas. Muslims, too, dominated the Legislature, due to their overall numerical strength of roughly twenty two to twenty eight million. Nationally, Hindus and Muslims began to demand the creation of two independent states, one to be formed in majority Hindu and one in majority Muslim areas.
In 1947, Bengal was partitioned for the second time, solely on religious grounds, as part of the Partition of India following the formation of the nations India and Pakistan. In 1955, East Bengal became East Pakistan, and in 1971 became the independent state of Bangladesh after a successful war of independence with West Pakistan.
SignificanceThe partition left a significant impact on the people of Bengal as well as the political scene of the Indian subcontinent. This event also created a sense of political awareness among the Muslims of East Bengal. To mollify the people of East Bengal, Lord Curzon declared that a university as a center of excellence would be established in Dacca (which would later be named as University of Dhaka) and formed a committee in this regard consisting Khwaja Salimullah, A. K. Fazlul Huq and others. The decision was severely criticised by some Hindu leaders in West Bengal. The most significant impact of this event was greater communal dissonance between the Hindus and Muslims of Bengal.
UK instigated south dravida leaders for a seperate dravidastan
Dravida Nadu was also the name of a Tamil language publication started by C. N. Annadurai. ... Other names for the proposed sovereign state included "
South India", ... In 1960, the DMK leaders decided to delete the demand of Dravida Nadu .... 1942, and placed before them the demand for a separate Dravidian nation.
Headquarters, Madras. Newspaper, Justice Dravidian Andhra Prakasika. Ideology, Socialism Anti-Brahminism. The Justice Party, officially the South Indian Liberal Federation, was a political party in the .... This dominance was denounced by the non-Brahmin leaders in the form of pamphlets and open letters written to the ...
easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~sydney/ltte.htmThe centre of LTTE activities for the area has now shifted to Paris and the LTTE ... by LTTE International Secretariat at No 211 Katherine Road, London E6 IBU ...
www.defence.lk/new.asp?...Are...support_LTTE...1 day ago – Such is the case with the LTTE proscribed by the UK Government ... run its international headquarters from London, LTTE's theoretician and ..
www.srilankaguardian.org/.../why-are-uk-mps-supporting-ltte....Oct 9, 2011 – The LTTE holds 2 events each year in London despite the UK & EU .... Virendra Sharma openly supporting the LTTE & the UK Government ...
Seaman Guard Ohio: Who is Paying?
The men were thrown in jail and ordered to stand trial for crimes against the state. While all charges were eventually dropped in July 2014 by the High Court of India, the men’s passports were confiscated so that they could not leave the country legally.
But after almost a year of detention and living in limbo, the Supreme Court of India upheld the charges and remanded the men for trial. And, on January 11, 2016, after a brief trial all of the men were sentenced to five years of hard labor, and the nightmare continues for them and their families.
Meanwhile, it appears that AdvanFort Company, the vessel’s owners, have done little to help the men. The company’s owners, Samir Farajallah, the company’s chairman and CEO, and his son, Ahmed, who acted as the president of U.S. based entity, quit paying the crew’s salaries in November 2013. They have also done little to provide legal assistance insisting that they thought it was their insurance company’s responsibility.
For the wives and families of the crew, who are grateful for every media article that keeps their loved ones in the spotlight, it has been three long, brutal years. But, unfortunately, it could be many more years before the men are released and allowed to go home.
An AdvanFort representative recently contacted some of the families to offer advice about appealing their convictions. They advised the men to request a transfer from India jurisdiction to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the basis that the Indian Coast Guard interfered with the ship’s right of innocent passage.
However, the advice fell flat on the legal team representing the men who say that the focus of the prosecution concerns contraventions of Indian domestic statutes relating to the carriage of arms within Indian territorial waters. Whatever the merits of the advice, AdvanFort’s long silence and lack of financial support for the men after more than three years meant very little to the families who have been suffering at the imprisonment of their sons, fathers and brothers.
The Sierra Leone-flagged Seaman Guard Ohio had more than 35 firearms, 102 magazines and 5,682 rounds of ammunition on board, and there was no paperwork for the munitions. Meanwhile, AdvanFort transferred about $40,000.00 to a ships’ agent in India to buy bunkers for the vessel. But, Indian authorities said the ship was not registered to enter territorial waters, and the money transfer was used for illicit purposes.
In March 2016, the Madras High Court Bench refused to suspend the five-year sentences that were handed down to the men in Tuticorin in January. A final appeal is scheduled to be heard on June 1, 2016, and the men remain imprisoned in an Indian jail.
While the men have toiled in a foreign country’s judicial system on charges they had no control over, the owners remain free. The crew and guards could not have known the arms carried were not registered and allowed in India. Nor did they know that the fuel bought and transferred to the ship was bought illegally. Meanwhile, the Farajallahs both have arrest warrants out for them in India.
The Mission to Seafarers got financially involved in the case just after the crew were arrested in India. The men’s hotel and food were not paid for by the company after they were release on bail.
Efforts have been made to try and contact the company, but their phones are shut down, and the website has not had anything new posted since 2014.
Samir Farajallah is said to have made significant sums from New Fields Exhibitions, which connected private companies with government officials for the rebuilding of Iraq, among other ventures. A reporter called New Fields’ Dubai phone number on March 2; the spokesman who answered confirmed the identity of the firm, but would neither confirm nor deny any continued involvement by Mr. Farajallah. The next day the New Fields website was removed from the internet
, the ship's master did not explain why the ship was patrolling in the Bay of Bengal when its permit was limited to the Indian Ocean,
|Industry||Security & Safety|
|Successor||William H Watson|
|Headquarters||Herndon, Virginia, USA|
Number of locations
|17 offices in 16 countries|
|Horn of Africa,Indian Ocean, Far East, Red Sea, Arabia Sea, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman|
|Ahmed Farajallah aka (Al Farajallah) Acting President|
|Services||Security Solutions in High Risk Areas|
Number of employees
In October 2013 Indian government agencies impounded AdvanFort's MV Seaman Guard Ohio and arrested the crew and 25 guards aboard for entering Indian waters without a permit while carrying large quantities of arms, and for illegally obtaining subsidized fuel.
CompanyAdvanFort is a US private maritime security company. It is a signatory with the International Code of Conduct (ICoC) for Pirate Security Providers, and certified with the International Maritime Law Enforcement Academy (IMLEA) The company also belongs to the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI). It is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., and also has offices in Turkey, Japan and South Korea, among other countries. AdvanFort is a corporate sponsor of Piracy Daily and sponsors "white papers" on anti-piracy issues.
AdvanFort specializes in maritime security including training, intelligence operations, and information security, and has a focus on providing armed security personnel and fleet assets in high-risk environments. Its fleet of Offshore Supported Vessels (OSVs) allows the company to operate outside a sovereign nation's borders. Most PMSCs must go through the port security of the countries their clients embark from before escorting their clients on their trade route. AdvanFort has six OSVs: MV Seaman Guard Ohio, MV Seaman Guard Virginia, MV Seaman Guard Oklahoma, MV Seaman Guard Alaska, MV Seaman Guard Texas, and MV Seaman Guard Arizona. These vessels operate in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and off the Eastern and Western coasts of Africa. In February 2013, the Panama Maritime Authority approved AdvanFort’s counter-piracy operations for the world's largest ship registry. Previously almost entirely staffed by veterans of the US military, the company has attracted naval personnel from other countries, in particular Estonia, some of whom said in 2011 that they were not paid or were insufficiently armed. Also in 2011, the company pleaded guilty in a US district court to "Aiding and Abetting the Making of a False Statement During the Acquisition of Firearms" in connection with a purchase from a supplier who did not secure the correct export license, for which it paid a fine and began serving two years' probation in spring 2013.
AdvanFort is owned by US-based Arab billionaire Samir Farajallah, who was also previously its president. William H. Watson became president and COO of the company in August 2012. As of September 2012 the company's advisory board included Charles Dragonette, a retired Senior Commercial Maritime Operations Analyst at the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, Rear Admiral Joel Whitehead (USCG-Ret), John A.C. Cartner, a master mariner and maritime and admiralty attorney, and Michael Crye, an attorney and retired Coast Guard Captain. In January 2014 it was announced that Watson and Cartner had both left the company, amid rumors that it was financially shaky; vice chairman Ahmed Farajallah was appointed acting president and the company is being restructured.
2013 Seaman Guard Ohio incident
While in port, the crew were denied access to welfare facilities offered by The Mission to Seafarers.
AdvanFort stated that the ship did not have permission to sail into the Indian waters, but that it had done so partly to avoid the effects of Cyclone Phailin
and had been invited to do so by the Coast Guard, for which the company president thanked the Indian government. AdvanFort called the arrests of crew members "inappropriate" and said that the company would explore diplomatic and legal avenues to obtain their release. Advanfort was subsequently accused of not supporting its contractors, leaving them to pay for their own defence, bail, food and housing.
Indian maritime authorities said that the master of the vessel had not obtained clearances to enter Indian waters, and that the refueling, "suspected to be subsidised diesel in this case, within the Customs Waters ... can amount to smuggling ... The question of escaping from Phailin does not arise as the cyclone had no impact in that area."
THIS PLACE VERY NEAR TO SRILANKA COAST .when its permit was limited to the Indian Ocean;WHY IT WAS HERE?
According to Coast Guard Commandant Anand Kumar, the ship's master did not explain why the ship was patrolling in the Bay of Bengal when its permit was limited to the Indian Ocean, and why no permits were available on board for the weapons and ammunition the ship was carrying. Indian authorities impounded the ship as well as 35 weapons, including sophisticated semi-automatic rifles along with around 5,700 rounds of ammunition, until paperwork demonstrating permission to enter Indian waters could be shown. The 10 crew and 25 guards aboard—14 Estonians, 12 Indians, 6 Britons and 1 Ukrainian—were interrogated by a federal multi-agency joint investigation team made up of members of the Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Customs, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Q Branch of Intelligence Bureau. Between October 18 and 19 they were disembarked and remanded to judicial custody until 31 October; they were interned at Palayamkottai Central Prison in Tirunelveli. On October 23, 22 of the 23 foreign citizens were transferred to Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai. On October 25, the Q Branch of Indian Police were given custody of a British national and two Indian nationals for five days. On October 30 they and the Indians who had sold them fuel were denied bail.
Tamil Nadu Police Coastal Security Group filed a FIR against the crew and guards of the ship on October 13, for unauthorised entrance into Indian waters in the Bay of Bengal with arms and ammunition and also for improper purchase of subsidized marine fuel. Indian investigators have involved US embassy officials in the probe.
In late December 2013 an Indian court made a provisional ruling ordering all crew members of the Seaman Guard Ohio released on bail, but bail was subsequently revoked and the crew ordered to be held in custody until completion of the investigation. On 14 February 2014, the Thoothukudi court gave individual copies of the 2,158-page charge-sheet to all those accused in connection with the case and extended the judicial custody of those detained to 25 February 2014. On 18 February, the Madras High Court dismissed the petition for bail introduced by twelve Indian detainees.
On 14 March 2014, the relatives of six former British soldiers included among those jailed delivered a 136,000-strong petition to Downing Street seeking the help of the British prime minister in securing bail for the men by making the UK government a guarantor for their bail conditions. On 26 March 2014, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court granted conditional bail to 33 of the 35 Advanfort employees held in India. Bail applications of ship captain Dudnik Valentyn and tactical deployment officer Paul David Dennish Towers were dismissed by the High Court as well as a lower court.
On 22 May 2014, Judicial Magistrate Kathiravan turned down a petition by Advanfort to secure the release MV Seaman Guard Ohio.
On 10 July 2014, Justice P N Prakash of the Madras high court dismissed criminal charges filed against the crew and armed-guards of the MV Seaman Guard Ohio under the Arms Act. The judge explained the reasons for the detention of the vessel as well as dismissal of criminal charges by saying : "I hold that the anchoring of MV Seaman Guard Ohio within our territorial sea was out of necessity and their action is saved by the principle of 'innocent passage' contemplated by Section 4(1) of the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zone Act, 1976 and Article 18 and 19 of UNCLOS. Therefore, the crew and the security guards cannot be prosecuted for an offence under the Arms Act." Justice P N Prakash reaffirmed that both the Captain of the MV Seaman Guard Ohio and the supplier of 10 drums of diesel fuel are punishable under the Essential Commodities and Control Act for the improper purchase of subsidized marine fuel.
Tamil Nadu CID ‘Q’ Branch police lodged an appeal with the Indian Supreme Court against the ruling handed out at the Chennai (Madras) High Court.
On 1 July 2015, the Indian Supreme Court heard an appeal filed by the CID ‘Q’ Branch police against the 2014 judgement by the Madras High Court. Supreme Court Bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre set aside the High Court’s decision as “illegal and erroneous.” explaining that “The very fact that huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the crew members from the vessel and they were unable to satisfy their legal possession over such arms/ammunition is sufficient to attract the provisions of Arms Act,”. The Supreme Court ordered the Tuticorin District Principal Sessions Court to complete the trial of the case and give its judgment within six months.
The crew of MV Seaman Guard Ohio, already freed from police custody but ordered to remain in India, can only obtain their "No Objection Certificate" (NOC) to leave Indian territory after the case is fully settled in Indian courts.
The case has potentially important legal ramifications for India's interpretation of its maritime sovereignty.
On 11 January 2016, judge of Tuticorin District Principal Sessions Court sentenced all the 10 crew and 25 guards to undergo 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 3000 each.
THESE SIX FORMER BRITISH SOLDIERS WERE GUN RUNNING FOR L.T.T.E. TO REKINDLE THE TROUBLE IN SRILANKA
BRITISH CALCULATES THAT FROM SRILANKA THE TROUBLE WILL SPREAD TO TAMIL NADU IN INDIA
WHO SAID UK IS STILL NOT INTERESTED IN WEAKENING INDIA BY ANY METHOD
RELATED ARMS DROPS WHERE BRITISH PERSONS INVOLVED
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