Money, honey traps and ideology: Why people like Davinder Singh betray trust
The arrest of deputy superintendent of police Davinder Singh for helping terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has once again brought to focus what happens when a law officer goes to the other side.
There are 20 lakh odd police officers in 29 states/Union Territories and close to 25 lakh army and central paramilitary personnel across the country other than reserve forces and central intelligence and investigation agencies who take an oath to be truthful to the Constitution and play a role of primary shield from any threat to India when they join services.
Pakistan’s spy agency ISI and the terror groups it harbours often manage to penetrate this shield - either through money, honey traps (when officers are lured through women) or other means.
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A senior intelligence official said that they haven’t come across cases like DSP Davinder Singh, where a serving officer was caught with terrorists, but there are many other cases in J&K when former police officers joined the terror ranks or worked for ISI.
Last year, around the time when Article 370 was being abrogated by the government, weapons of around 250 SPOs (special police officers) were taken away after indications that some of them may join terror groups.
One of the most famous scandals involving the jawans — the Samba Spy case between August 1978 and January 1979, in which 50 jawans who served in the 169 Infantry Brigade and its subordinate units at Samba, 40 km from Jammu on the international border, were arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan at the instance of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI). Those arrested included a Brigadier, three Lieutenant Colonels and a number of Majors, Captains, Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs), Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and personnel of other ranks, plus 11 civilians who had worked in the Samba sector.
In July 2018, a BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed was arrested by Delhi Police for trading secret and confidential information with ISI.
More recently, seven sailors based in Vishakapatnam were arrested last month for passing on critical information to Pakistan after being entrapped on social media by Pakistani agents posing as women.
Official cited above said there are hundreds of instances in last 70 years - be it insurgency in the north east, J&K militancy or Maoists’ affected states - when police officers, army or paramilitary forces have betrayed their country either for money, ideology or because of threat to their families from the terrorists. “Usually the officers/jawans caught in the past shared classified information or helped any terrorist when they either left the service or were not on the job. In the cases of honey traps, they shared information without realising that it could be misused,” the officer added.
Indian army and paramilitary forces have often come up with directions for their personnel on the use of social media and certain apps purportedly run by Pakistanis, Chinese or terror groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, asking them to be careful.
Another intelligence officer said that “there is a need to routinely have motivational exercises within the armed forces and police to remind them of their duty and to make sure they don’t move away from it. In the age of social media, it is very difficult to keep an eye on every Jawan or police officer but discipline is necessary and strictest action should be taken against traitors”.
The second officer added that officers like Davinder Singh should be taught a “tough lesson”.