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IAF honeytrap: ISI spy Damini sought details on India’s combat exercise

Police have written to Facebook office in California seeking details of the chats between Ranjith and Damini McNaught

india Updated: Dec 31, 2015 10:08 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)

The 28-year-old leading aircraftsman Ranjith KK, who was arrested for allegedly passing on sensitive information to intelligence agencies across the border, was asked to give detailed information on ‘operation Indradhanush’ and the aircraft used by the Indian Air Force in the activity.

The information was sought from him by a woman, Damini McNaught, who had introduced herself as an editor of a defence magazine based in the UK.

In the said operation, four of India’s fleet of Russian-designed SU-30MKI Flanker fighter aircraft were pitted against RAF’s (Royal Air Force) Typhoon FGR4 fighter planes in Lincolnshire, held in early August this year. It was reportedly an exercise to enhance mutual operational understanding between the two Air Forces, police said.

According to sources, while Ranjith could give out information on the makes of fighter planes that were to be used in the activity, he could not divulge much. “Since the activity was in partnership with England, Ranjith could only share a part of the information. He was also given specific tasks to find out more about this operation. We are trying to find out why the agency in Pakistan would need information on the activity between England and India,” sources said.

Read more: Pak honeytrap: IAF official worked as ‘defence analyst’ for fake UK mag
Read more: Air force ex-official honey-trapped into ‘spying’ for ISI, arrested

Meanwhile the police are trying to find who Damini McNaught, the woman who contacted Ranjith to access information, is.

Clueless about which intelligence agency was accessing the said information, the police have now written to Facebook office based in California to give them all the information about the chat history from Facebook messenger and details of the email used to create the said account. The police have also asked for login details and locations from where the said account was logged in last, sources said.

“As of now it appears that the intelligence agency in Pakistan must have created the fictitious profile. Also since the spies wanted information of the northern border — including Jaisalmer, Srinagar and Bhatinda — it is more likely that they are based in Pakistan, however, we are not denying the involvement of any other intelligence agencies in this racket. We are still unsure of who these people are and from where they are operating. This will be clear once we have details of the Facebook chats, logs and locations from where they were logged,” a police source said.

First Published: Dec 31, 2015 09:24 IST