Accused sepoy supplied sensitive info to ISI through terrorist Rinda: officials
The accused sepoy was arrested from Bhopal and was allegedly supplying sensitive information to ISI, through a drug peddler Amrik Singh, for the past three years, officials added
The interrogation of sepoy Manpreet Sharma, who is an accused in the espionage racket busted by the police, has revealed that he was working at the behest of India’s most wanted terrorist Harvinder Singh Rinda, for Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), officials privy to the matter said.
The revelations came after a joint interrogation by Punjab Police and Army Intelligence, and the revelations have sent the authorities into a tizzy. The accused sepoy was arrested from Bhopal and was allegedly supplying sensitive information to ISI, through a drug peddler Amrik Singh, for the past three years, officials added.
The army has deputed a Colonel rank official, besides Army Intelligence officials, to join the police in grilling accused sepoy Sharma, who worked as a computer operator at Western Command, Chandimandir, and Army Cantonment at Pathankot.
“The link of terrorist Rinda has come to the fore during joint interrogation. Amrik was working for Rinda and was paying money to Manpreet to buy information. Manpreet used to supply sensitive information in CDs and pen drives by copying it from computers,” said Varun Sharma, SSP Patiala.
He said that senior officials have been taken into the loop, and it has come to the fore that Amrik was taking money, heroin, arms and ammunition from Rinda and in return was paying Manpreet to buy sensitive army information.
As per the officials, Manpreet had been in contact with Amrik since 2019 but it was after 2021 that the accused sepoy started supplying sensitive information related to the movement of troops, maps of cantonments, weapons deployed in sensitive areas and other vital information, the official added.
What brought Manpreet-Amrik closer was the fact that the army sepoy was nominated in a firing incident in 2021 and spent some time in Haryana jail. The authorities failed to apprise the army about Manpreet’s detention and he re-joined his posting.
Amrik, who was not arrested at that time, helped the accused sepoy in the jail through his network which brought the two closer, an official said.
“To win the confidence of sepoy Manpreet, Armik and his aides had fired on some persons in Kaithal, Haryana, who were teasing the accused sepoy’s girlfriend. Police had nominated Manpreet and he was sent to judicial custody but the authorities failed to inform the army,” said an official, who is part of the team investigating the case.
SSP said that a detailed investigation is on and now the Army is also keen to know the accused modus operandi. Manpreet is likely to be taken to Chandimandir to ascertain which computer he was accessing.
Manpreet was nabbed from Bhopal after his activities came to the fore after the arrest of Amrik Singh from Patiala in May 2022.
During Amrik’s interrogation, the police had recovered five mobile phones. Upon forensic examination of the mobile phones by the cybercrime cell, it was found that one of the phones contained evidence of Amrik’s communication with ISI agents. Amrik had been in constant touch with an ISI agent Sher Khan, through a foreign SIM card, and had allegedly leaked a 140-page dossier of vital information. He had also shared maps of the army area, pictures of such locations and other army infrastructure, which the police now believe were sourced through the sepoy arrested on Sunday.
There are many voice recordings. In one of the recordings, an ISI agent is talking to Amrik about having arranged a cross-border drone. The agent is also heard asking the drug smuggler whether he has received the two AK-47s and 250 cartridges sent to him, to which Amrik responds in the affirmative.