NEW DELHI: Based on inputs given by a Lucknow based Military Intelligence unit, the Rajasthan Police have arrested two people and busted an espionage ring being run by ISI officials to steal classified information pertaining to defence establishments.
Those arrested are Vikas Kumar (29), a civil defence employee at an Army Ammunition Depot near Shri Ganganagar (Rajasthan) and Chiman Lal (22), a civil contractual employee of Army's Mahajan Field Firing Range (MFFR), Bikaner for working as espionage agents of a Pakistani intelligence agency.
"The operation assumes great importance as both, the said Ammunition Depot and the MMFR are strategically important military installations in the western front of country," an official said.
The operation kicked off in the month of August, 2019 when the MI Lucknow unit sleuths learnt about an espionage agent near Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan who was passing military information to his handlers in Pakistan.
The individual was identified as Vikas Kumar a civil defence employee at an army ammunition depot near Sri Ganganagar.
It was learnt by MI Lucknow that Vikas Kumar was cultivated by a Pakistani Intelligence Operative (PIO) using a Facebook profile in the garb of "Anoshka Chopra" being run from Multan, Pakistan by a young Pakistani woman.
The MI unit could ascertain that Vikas Kumar was passing military information related to ORBAT (Order of Battle; composition and order of a military fighting formation), ammunition (photos, state, quantity, type, arrival, departure), units coming for firing practice/ military exercise to MFFR, personality traits of senior army officers in lieu of money.
It was also found that Vikas Kumar was receiving payments in three of his (and his brother's) bank accounts.
MI Lucknow shared the case with UP ATS in the month of January, 2020. Activities of Vikas was monitored and analysed by a joint team of MI Lucknow and UP ATS. The operation was code named 'Desert Chase'.
Based on these inputs, it was learnt that Vikas was acquiring photos of a "water distribution register" at a water point/ pump house in MFFR through a contractual civil employee named Chiman Lal.
All developments in the case came to a halt due to imposition of country-wide lockdown. However, the lockdown did not stop the duo from sharing critical information.
Finally, the case was shared with the Rajasthan Police Intelligence in the first week of May 2020.
A joint team was formed of Rajasthan Police Intelligence and MI Lucknow, and all the findings were analysed again. Further details were acquired and conclusive evidence was gathered.
The authorities also detected fresh payments and evidence of more information being shared with Pakistani handlers. Plans for arrest were made and finally both were arrested by Rajasthan Police on June 8, at Jaipur.
Later, during questioning at Jaipur, Vikas Kumar reportedly confessed that he had received a friend request from the PIO's Facebook Profile, "Anoshka Chopra" in the month of March/ April, 2019 and had accepted.
They became very friendly, shared their WhatsApp numbers with each other and started chatting and making audio/ video calls. The PIO used to use an Indian WhatsApp number and claimed she is working with Canteen Store Department (CSD) headquarters at Mumbai.
Vikas Kumar joined several WhatsApp groups as she asked him to. She was in all these groups and there were many serving defense and civil defence employees in them.
Subsequently she introduced Vikas KumaRead More – Source