From Planning Balakot Strikes to Heading R&AW, Meet Samant Goel

India's foreign intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) has a new boss. Samant Goel, an IPS officer from the 1984 batch from the Punjab cadre, has been appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is set to take charge on 30 June.

Goel is widely known to be one of the chief architects of the Balakot air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed camps on 26 February. Before his new appointment, he was reportedly the man behind some of India’s most recent military and intelligence operations, especially the 2016 surgical strikes in Pakistan.

Also Read: Balakot Strike Strategist Samant Goel Appointed New R&AW Chief

Tackling Punjab Militancy

Samant Goel rose to prominence with his role in handling militancy in Punjab in the 1990s, reports Hindustan Times. Quoting a senior R&AW officer, the report describes Goel as "mild-mannered police officer" with "impeccable integrity."

In the race to be the new R&AW chief, Goel also highlighted his work in "countering Khalistani propaganda in Europe against India" reports IANS. Goel is also widely considered to be an expert on Pakistan. He is also reported to be close to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and had been briefly considered for the role of Punjab police chief.

According to Crimes Against Humanity in Punjab, a data project by Ensaaf which documents enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, Samant Goel’s name is implicated in three instances of extrajudicial execution in Gurdaspur district.

Also Read: ‘Referendum 2020’: In London, A Rally Held to ‘Liberate’ Punjab

Role in Bribery Case Against Rakesh Asthana

Samant Goel also played a role in the bribery case against benched special CBI director Rakesh Ashthana. In the Asthana bribery case, brothers Manoj and Somesh Prasad were taken into custody. According to IANS, it was alleged that Goel worked with the brothers to "dilute" the Moin Qureshi money-laundering and corruption investigation.

Goel is set to retire in May 2020.

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