| Ritesh Kumar (left) in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Oct. 22: Delhi police have arrested an army man who they say was about to sneak into Kathmandu to hand over a pen drive, film rolls and documents containing sensitive information to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agents there.
Special branch officers arrested Ritesh Kumar Vishwakarma, a signal man, on Friday outside Delhi airport minutes after he arrived from Leh where he was posted with a signals regiment that operates communication lines to Kargil and Siachen.
This is the second arrest by Delhi police of an army man on charges of espionage for Pakistan in two days.
“But there is absolutely no connection between the two cases. We’re dealing with two independent espionage modules,” a senior police officer told The Telegraph.
During interrogation, Vishwakarma told the police that he had visited Kathmandu thrice in the past where he was paid money by ISI agents.
“His home is close to the India-Nepal border from where he would sneak into Kathmandu during his leave,” a police officer said.
Yesterday, Delhi police had arrested Lance Naik Anil Kumar Dubey while passing documents to an employee of the Pakistan high commission.
Police officers said Vishwakarma had apparently been lured into a more sophisticated espionage network based in Kathmandu.
The high commission officials here are under surveillance, but when the controllers are based in Kathmandu, it becomes all the more difficult to unearth espionage, an officer said.
The police said they had received a tip-off about the signal man passing information to foreign agents in Kathmandu. When he was picked up, Vishwakarma had a pen drive, film rolls with images of sensitive documents, and papers with “information useful to an enemy country”, the police said.
“The arrested signal man has the rank of a police constable, and is not supposed to have access to the kind of sensitive information he had in his possession,” the officer said.
“We’re investigating how he managed it.”
Army sources said the arrest was a joint operation between the IB and Delhi police. “We’re being briefed only now. We will comment only after we’re given an assessment of the investigation,” the sources said.
Vishwakarma was attached to the 14 Corps signals regiment that has been involved in laying and operating army communication lines to Kargil and Siachen. It also operates high-altitude electronic listening posts.
Intelligence officers have said earlier the ISI has been known to use Kathmandu, Dubai, Bangkok and Colombo as bases.
Home ministry officials had also as long back as four years ago identified the Pakistan high commission in Kathmandu as an ISI hub.