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‘Lichi’ on list of favourites

New Delhi, April 27: Madhuri Gupta’s email address, as mentioned in the Indian Foreign Service officers’ civil list, is madsmiles (the domain name is being withheld).

Her foreign ministry colleagues remember her as an efficient and cheerful worker who rose through the ranks of the ministry’s clerical staff. The Delhi University graduate was well liked during her stint at New Delhi’s Indian Council of World Affairs in 2006-07.

An outgoing person, Gupta was an intermittent user of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. On her Facebook account, she lists “Lichi”, “Golgappa aka pani puri”, and “Ice cream” as some of her favourite foods.

Tarot cards seem to have been another area of interest, with “what do my cards say today” being one of her favourite sites. The cards seem not to have warned her when she was summoned back from Islamabad on Sunday, though.

Before her Islamabad posting on August 6, 2007, Gupta had had other outstation stints, including a job with the Indian mission in Kuala Lumpur.

It was her nosiness in Islamabad and her frequent India visits that raised eyebrows. Her bank transactions, as well as those of her close relatives, were put under the scanner.

The intelligence agencies suspect that Gupta had a close association with two Pakistani nationals, and that she was in touch with Pakistan high commission officials in Delhi as well. A hunt is on for her contacts here.

Some of the questions she has been asked are:

Who, when and how did the ISI get in touch with you? What kind of information did you pass on? What was the mode of payment? Did you visit other Pakistani cities? Did you meet any Pakistan high commission official in Delhi?

The foreign ministry today said: “We have reason to believe that an official in the Indian high commission in Islamabad has been passing information to the Pakistani intelligence agencies. The official is co-operating with our investigations and inquiries.”

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