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Pak honeytrap: IAF official worked as ‘defence analyst’ for fake UK mag

Till last week, the Leading Air Craftsmen (LAC), Ranjith KK was under the impression that he was working as a ‘defence analyst’ with a leading magazine in the UK.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2015 12:19 IST
Ananya Bhardwaj
Ananya Bhardwaj
Hindustan Times
Dismissed Air Force official Ranjith (C) who has been arrested for allegedly sharing secret documents with intelligence operatives backed by Pakistan’s ISI, at the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI)

Till last week, the Leading Air Craftsmen (LAC), Ranjith KK was under the impression that he was working as a ‘defence analyst’ with a leading magazine in the UK. Clueless aboutbeing trapped into passing sensitive information to the intelligence agencies in Pakistan, the Air Force official allegedly did the job for over a year in exchange for money. He was finally arrested from Bhatinda Air Force Station on Tuesday.

According to sources, Ranjith was befriended by one Damini McNaught, whom he met on Facebook. She sent him a Facebook friend request after he posted his profile picture in uniform on the social networking website. The two conversed through Facebook Messenger and emails and even had a telephonic conversation. McNaught, who claimed to be an editor with a magazine in the UK, told Ranjith that she wants him to work as a defence analyst for them, for which he will be paid a handsome amount.

Sources said McNaught used to assign “tasks” to him on a weekly basis. She reportedly used to give him Google satellite maps of Bhatinda and asked him to minutely mark important buildings, including high rises from where the entire Air Force base is visible and other important installations around the base. In the next task, she gave him another map and asked him to mark the exact location of the air traffic control, air force base and the parking space of the fighter planes.

He was even asked to mark the entire length and breadth of the runaway from where all fighters planes take off. “McNaught used to give Ranjith only specific queries. He was not asked to leak any documents or plans but was asked specific information. As a ‘defence analyst’ he was asked to mark entry exit points of the air base, distance of the base from high rises, recent air force exercise, movements of aircrafts and deployment of various units . For the said information he got paid Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000,” sources said.

According to the police, several other defence officials may have also been fooled by the ISI module. “These Pakistani agents select profiles of these defence personnel from Facebook and then send them friends request to start a conversation. Since Ranjith had received a few VOIP based calls on his mobile number from the woman talking in a British accent, it is clear that the agencies have even hired women whom they use to honeytrap these defence personnel in order to get sensitive information out of them, police said.

“We have accessed her profile and are analysing the logs to see who all she was speaking to using the said profile. More arrests are likely,” police sources said.

Read:Pak using Facebook honey-traps to ensnare defence personnel, say police

First Published: Dec 30, 2015 08:02 IST