On Thursday, Rajasthan police arrested two Indian Army personnel who were involved in a honey-trap, posted at Pokhran in Jaiselmer district, for allegedly leaking classified and sensitive information via Facebook and Whatsapp.
The two soldiers, namely, Lance Naik Ravi Verma and Sepoy Vichitra Behera, who has been taken into custody by the Indian intelligence agencies at Jodhpur railway station had reportedly been caught in a honeytrap by Pakistan’s ISI.
Army Sources: Two Indian Army personnel including Lance Naik Ravi Verma and Sepoy Vichitra Behera have been arrested by Rajasthan Police after they were virtually honeytrapped by Pakistani intelligence operatives over social media. (1/3)
— ANI (@ANI) November 7, 2019
Confirming that both have fallen prey to a honeytrap, Umesh Mishra, Additional Director General of Rajasthan Intelligence said that both have been detained and investigation has been initiated after strong evidence was found. “We have detained two army jawans for their involvement in spying activities. They were deployed at an army unit in Pokhran. They were honey-trapped by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and were sending information across the border through different social media platforms” ADF police (Intelligence ) Umesh Mishra said.
The agencies are enquiring about the handlers modus operandi and their purported links with India. During investigations, it has emerged that the two personnel were involved with one Facebook ID with the name of ‘Seerat’ that was posing as a woman to honey-trap the two jawans.
Army Sources: In the investigation, it has emerged that the two personnel were involved with one Facebook ID with the name of ‘Seerat’ that was posing as a woman to honey-trap the two jawans. (2/3) https://t.co/JNs4sqzoKu
— ANI (@ANI) November 7, 2019
Lance Naik of 12 Guards, Ravi Varma of Madhya Pradesh and cook Vichitra Behera, Odisha resident, lived alone in Pokharan. They got introduced to the woman on Facebook. According to the information, both the soldiers who were honey-trapped for the last year and a half had been sending sensitive information to Pakistan through Facebook and WhatsApp.
Even while the woman Pakistan ISI handler was in Pakistan she managed to trick the jawans as she firstly used VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) with a strong Punjabi accent and secondly she called the soldiers from an Indian number, which allegedly misled the accused personnel and deliberated them from sparing tactical information.
Some of the information was regarding army deployment, equipment and manoeuvres etc. in lieu of which the jawans received a sum of Rs 5000 in their respective accounts, investigations have revealed.
The Army has, however, decided to remain tight-lipped on this case of honey-trap. “We don’t have anything to say on this,” said Col. Shombit Ghosh, PRO defence, South Western Command.
‘Honey Trapping’ is a commonly used technique practised for very long by spy agencies to extract sensitive information. In July, Army jawan Ravinder allegedly leaked information regarding weapons used by his unit and their specific locations to a foreign woman via Facebook. He had also allegedly received money from the said woman in the past.
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 in recent years.
In June, the Army intelligence has issued an advisory to army personnel against an Instagram profile ‘Oyesomya’ who is suspected of being an enemy spy trying to target army officers and special forces’ troops.
In another case, Rajasthan Police had arrested one Army jawan on charges of espionage in Jaiselmer. After interrogations, it was revealed that he was in touch with the Pakistani ISI operatives through social media.
In December, the Intelligence Bureau had said that Chinese and Pakistani girls being used by ISI to ‘honey trap’ Indian officials. Last year, an engineer working at the Brahmos Aerospace facility was also booked for alleged leaking of information to suspected individuals via social media.