In the wake of the sensational arrest of the BrahMos engineer for allegedly spying for Pakistan, The Intelligence Bureau has issued a high alert against the hostile neighbour’s ‘honeytrap’ strategy, which is prevalent in India.
The alert states that Pakistan’s ISI has been utilizing good looking Chinese and Pakistani girls to lure and set the trap on high ranking officials and those involved in dealing with sensitive information.
The latest intelligence report says that the ISI is targeting young Indian scientists. The spy agency’s strategy includes profiling the scientists and then engaging them online using the fake profile of women. Intelligence agencies have reportedly issued an alert to government officials, especially in the defence forces, to raise awareness against honey trapping attempts.
ISI’s ‘honeytrap’ strategy also includes vulgar chats. To make sure the victims believe in the fake profiles, at times dummy models are used for erotic video calls. Sources also said that to hide their locations, ISI agents use the ‘IP masking technique’ which means rerouting IP addresses.
Reports also stated that the ISI is suspected of using English and Urdu speaking women to trap Indian officers through social media. After profiling potential targets, they send friend requests to officers on Facebook and exchange numbers and start chatting, before blackmailing the officers to provide classified information.
Nishant Agarwal, an engineer with the BrahMos Aerospace unit in Nagpur, was arrested on charges of passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s spy agency.
BrahMos aerospace is tasked with developing the supersonic Brahmos missiles that are considered the fastest cruise missiles in the world. The Nagpur Brahmos unit where Nishant was employed makes propellants for the missiles.
A probe has revealed that Nishant was in touch with two suspected ISI agents who were operating with fake facebook accounts named Neha Sharma and Pooja Ranjan respectively and allegedly shared classified information after being honey-trapped online.
Accused Nishant Agarwal was working at this facility from last 4 years. Uttar Pradesh ATS had claimed that highly sensitive documents were found stored in Nishant’s personal computer. The accused has been alleged to have been passing this sensitive and classified information to Pakistan as well as the US agencies. He was reportedly lured with a job offer of USD 30,000 per month in Canada.
‘Honey Trapping’ is a commonly used technique practised for very long by spy agencies to extract sensitive information. According to reports, 13 serving and retired defence personnel had been arrested for allegedly spying for the ISI or being part of its espionage racket over the past four years.
In February this year an Indian Air Force officer, Captain Arun Marwaha, was taken into custody by the counter-intelligence wing of the force for alleged involvement in espionage and leaking classified documents and had been arrested by the police under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
In April it was reported that a 23-year-old man named Gaurav Kumar, who was honey-trapped by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was arrested from Rohtak for allegedly passing information to the Pakistani spy agency about Indian Army camps he had visited for recruitment tests.
Earlier this year, an Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta was sentenced to jail for allegedly leaking sensitive information to ISI officials who had honey trapped her during her stint at the Indian high commission in Islamabad.