Punjab man held for leaking sensitive info to Pak agent
New Delhi: A 35-year-old Punjab resident was arrested for allegedly spying for a foreign intelligence agency and passing on sensitive information about the Indian Army, their movements, and location of posts and bunkers of the army and the Border Security Force (BSF) at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab, said officials from the Delhi Police’s special cell said on Saturday. Several confidential documents of the Indian Army were recovered from him, the police said.
Officials said the arrested man, Harpal Singh, was sending sensitive information pertaining to the Army and the BSF through WhatsApp and other encrypted text and voice messaging mobile applications since October last year to his handler based in Pakistan.
Preliminary scanning of the mobile phone seized from him revealed that Singh shared hundreds of videos and photographs with his handler, identified by him as Jaspal, in the past six months. “Singh received several lakhs of rupees that were routed through hawala channels for sharing such sensitive information and funding the espionage operation,” said deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav.
He added the special cell has been working with central intelligence agencies to counter terror activities and ensure no secret information is passed on from India to other countries. During the process, the special cell’s south-western range team received inputs about Singh, a native of Punjab’s Tarn Taran, of having links with intelligence officers of foreign countries and also receiving funds from his handlers through illegal channels for leaking sensitive information having potential to compromise national security. Accordingly, a case under sections 3,4,5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act and criminal conspiracy was registered on April 11, said the DCP.
“The movement of Singh was monitored through surveillance mounted by our team and the military intelligence. We learnt that to mislead law enforcement agencies, Singh worked as a farm machinery operator and also used to do fencing work at the Indo-Pakistan border in Punjab. His job helped him find and create a way to transfer secret information and documents across the border,” said Yadav.
On April 12, the team learnt that Singh was coming to Delhi to get some sensitive information from his sources. Accordingly, a team was deployed which caught him with some confidential documents from the Majnu ka Tilla area in north Delhi.
During interrogation, it came to the fore that since Singh was born and brought up in a village in Punjab adjoining the Indo-Pak border, he was very well versed with details and locations of the Indian troops posted there. “Since he allegedly used to upload inflammatory posts against the Indian government on his social media account, one Jaspal, who is suspected to be based in Lahore, Pakistan, contacted him between June and July last year,” said a police officer associated with the case requesting anonymity.
“Jaspal radicalised him and persuaded Singh to work for him. Later, Singh came to know that Jaspal was based in Pakistan and working for the country’s intelligence agency. He also got a chance to meet Jaspal during his visit to Oman,” the officer said.
Yadav said Singh was being interrogated to ascertain the source from whom he was receiving confidential documents and other sensitive information about the Indian Army and the BSF. “Forensic analysis of his mobile phones is being done to unearth the entire network and conspiracy in this case. Identities and roles of other foreign nationals involved in the conspiracy are also being ascertained,” he added.