A retired Indian Army officer now living in Canada was arrested in Delhi on Saturday on the charge of spying for foreign agencies, government sources said.
“The suspect is presently based in Canada and came to Delhi a fortnight ago. He has been arrested and is being interrogated by officials of Delhi police and the Intelligence Bureau,” a Union home ministry official said.
“He is a resident of Delhi, but has been living in Canada for several years. He is suspected to have passed (onto foreign agencies) sensitive information on army installations,” the official said.
The official refused to reveal the name and designation of the retired army officer.
Earlier this year, intelligence outfits had warned government departments of “honey traps” set by foreign agencies to target officers dealing with sensitive information on the country’s national security.
The alert had come in the wake of the arrest of Nishant Agarwal, an engineer with the BrahMos Aerospace unit in Nagpur, who was allegedly passing on sensitive information to the Pakistani spy agency. A probe revealed that he had been in touch with two suspected ISI agents and had allegedly shared classified information after being honey-trapped online.
The alert had said that “good-looking Chinese and Pakistani girls are being used by foreign agencies to honey-trap officers of the armed forces and others working in the security set-up”.
Sources said foreign intelligence agencies were suspected to be using English and Urdu-speaking women to trap Indian officers through social media. The women, who mostly operate on porn sites, trap vulnerable officers and indulge in sex chat. In some cases they send friend requests to officers on Facebook and exchange phone numbers and chat through Chinese smartphones before blackmailing officers to extract classified information.
As per records available with the Union home ministry, 13 serving and retired defence personnel have been arrested in the past five years for allegedly spying for the ISI or being part of its espionage racket.
In February last year, Delhi police had arrested a senior Indian Air Force officer for allegedly sharing classified information with a woman. Group Captain Arun Marwah, 51, was booked under the Official Secrets Act after the probe revealed that he was honey-trapped online by the ISI through two Facebook accounts and WhatsApp and he allegedly shared classified information with the woman.
In a similar case, Ranjith, another IAF officer, was arrested by Delhi police in December 2015 on the charge of sharing secret documents with ISI operatives. He had come in touch with a woman on Facebook while recovering from an illness in a military hospital.
The woman had sent a friend request on Facebook. During a conversation one night, Ranjith had allegedly passed on some classified information and later the woman started blackmailing him saying she had recorded the conversation.
The investigation had revealed that he had shared sensitive details of a base from where drones and airborne early warning and control systems were operated.