Punjab: Two Indian army sepoys held for spying for ISI

The two armymen had already shared photos of over 900 classified documents — pertaining to defence of the country and national security — over a period of four months between February and May 2021
The espionage network was unearthed after the recovery of confidential documents related to the functioning and deployment of the Indian Army from a cross-border drug smuggler arrested in Jalandhar in May. (Representative photo)
The espionage network was unearthed after the recovery of confidential documents related to the functioning and deployment of the Indian Army from a cross-border drug smuggler arrested in Jalandhar in May. (Representative photo)
Published on Jul 06, 2021 08:15 PM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Jalandhar

The Punjab Police have busted a cross-border espionage network with the arrest of two army sepoys, who are accused of providing classified documents to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

They have been identified as sepoys Harpreet Singh and Gurbhej Singh, both 23. Harpreet belongs to Cheecha village in Amritsar and was posted in Anantnag. He joined the Indian Army in 2017 and belongs to the 19 Rashtriya Rifles. Gurbhej is from Punian in Tarn Taran, belongs to 18 Sikh Light Infantry and was working as a clerk in Kargil. He had joined the army in 2015.

Punjab director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta on Tuesday said that the espionage network was unearthed after the Jalandhar rural police recovered confidential documents related to the functioning and deployment of the Indian Army from cross-border drug smuggler Ranvir Singh, who was arrested with heroin on May 24.

During interrogation, Ranvir disclosed that he got the documents from Harpreet, who was his friend as they both belong to the same village.

“Ranvir motivated and lured sepoy Harpreet Singh with financial benefits for sharing defence-related classified documents, following which the latter inducted his friend Gurbhej into such anti-national spying activities,” said DGP Dinkar Gupta.

As Gurbhej was working as a clerk in the 121 Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Kargil, he could get easy access to classified documents containing both strategic and tactical information related to the Indian Army, said the DGP.

Drug smuggler with contacts in Pak held too

Gupta said the two armymen had already shared photos of over 900 classified documents — pertaining to defence of the country and national security — with Ranvir Singh over a period of four months between February and May 2021. Ranvir had further passed on these documents to the Pakistan ISI operatives, either directly or via Gopi, said the DGP. Gopi, who belongs to Dauke village in Amritsar, has been identified as the main drug smuggler with links with Pakistan-based drug-smuggling syndicates and ISI officials, who invariably work in tandem.

Following Ranvir’s disclosures, police have also arrested Gopi, who has confessed to having transferred the classified documents to Pakistan-based drug smuggler Kothar and ISI operative Sikander in lieu of heroin and financial benefits, the DGP said, adding that all the photographs were transmitted through encrypted apps.

Naveen Singla, senior superintendent of police, Jalandhar rural, said the army authorities have handed over both the accused sepoys to them and further investigations are being carried out to ascertain the involvement of others. Police had earlier registered a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act at the Mehatpur police station in Jalandhar, to which Sections 124-A (sedition) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Official Secrets Act have been added.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021