Akun Sabharwal, the Expelled RAW Official from San Francisco

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The San Francisco RAW station head was Akun Sabharwal. He was Consul of India at its San Francisco embassy. He had joined either RAW or IB in October 2019, with the New Indian Express stating that “according to sources, during his [Central Deputation], he will work with an intelligence agency at the Centre.” Other articles state he was with an “intelligence agency.” 

An Indian Bureaucracy notification confirms he was with RAW as an IGP, Inspector General of Police, a rank third highest in the hierarchy of Indian police. 

He joined the San Francisco station between October 22, 2021 and January 13, 2022. He was there until at least September 5, 2023. Official consulate Twitter once tweeted his US phone number too. He seems to have served less than two years in the US, cutting short the typical three year tenure given to Indian diplomats can mean he was expelled. The current page of the San Francisco consulate has removed his name.

His cover position at the consulate initially was Consul (Community Affairs, Information & Culture & Visa). But at the end, he seems to have been promoted as Consul of India, San Francisco, as one photograph displays.

The photograph also included a bio which shares that “Akun Sabharwal is [sic] born in 1976 in Patiala. Completed medical education from Patiala Dental College. […] He is currently serving as Consul of India, San Francisco”. He is the son of retired Indian Air Force officer, D. P (Dharam Paul) Sabharwal.

Akun Sabharwal was active in the Sikh community in California, which is home to one of the largest Sikh populations in the diaspora. He conducted stage proceedings at a Ghadar Memorial meeting, was in presence of Ro Khanna, attended a book publishing event on well known Sikh shaheed Baba Deep Singh, and attended the Yuba City Nagar Kirtan.

During Sabharwal’s tenure, Sikhs were targeted with a pervasive surveillance and intimidation attempts at places of worship and personal properties. The FBI has warned multiple Sikh activists in California of threats to their lives in and around the same time of Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s assassination in Surrey, Canada.

Surveillance footage of men intimidating American Sikh Caucus founder, Dr. Pritpal Singh, another Sikh actor warned by the FBI of threats to his life, came from June 24, 2023, the same time an Indian official and Nikhil Gupta were planning the assassination of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, as per the US Justice Department Indictment on the matter.

The Indictment states that the US agent was told by Gupta that there was a target in California, which may be the reason why the San Francisco consulate was singled out by US authorities for expulsions. 

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