Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spy scam: More than what meets the eye

The information allegedly passed on to Pakistani intelligence agencies by Madhuri Gupta while working in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was not very serious in nature, Intelligence Bureau sources told on Tuesday.

Gupta, 53, a promotee officer of the ministry of external affairs, was arrested in New Delhi four days ago on charges of spying for Pakistan.

According to IB sources, Intelligence officials are currently interrogating her to probe her links with a RAW official currently posted in Islamabad.

"She had passed on minor information regarding India's plans in Afghanistan. She was a second secretary in the Media and Information Cell in the Indian embassy in Islamabad. It is impossible to get information on sensitive matters in her position," said an IB official.

He added that the RAW official under scrutiny, who might have been working with her in passing on information to Pakistan, could have leaked crucial information.

But IB officials are confident that no major information could have been leaked by Gupta as she had been put under the scanner several months ago. "We had managed to cut off her sources and were able to prevent a major information leak," said the official.

During interrogation, Madhuri told IB officials that she had agreed to spy for Pakistan's intelligence agencies as she was dissatisfied with her salary.

Gupta told her interrogators that when the Inter Services Intelligence had offered her a large amount of money to pass on information, she had readily agreed. She had reportedly been working for the Pakistan spy agency for nearly a year.

Intelligence officials are interrogating Gupta to find out if another Indian was involved in the spying operation.

IB officials are trying to ascertain the role played by the RAW official in the whole affair.

"We need to find out if he had passed on any information. He could have discussed certain pieces of information to her casually, without being aware of Gupta's plan. But he did abuse his position by discussing confidential information with a person who had no access to such information. We don't have concrete proof of his involvement but we are investigating the matter," said an IB source.

The IB sources also informed that they are probing the role of a man called Rana, who is believed to be Gupta's handler in Pakistan.

They suspect that she was involved in a romantic relationship with him, and he could have been the man who got her in touch with the ISI.

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