New Delhi: Dismissed Air Force official Ranjith, who has been arrested for allegedly sharing secret documents with intelligence operatives backed by Pakistan’s ISI, believed that he was working as a ‘defence analyst’ with a reputed UK-based magazine.
Till his arrest, Ranjith KK, the Leading Air Craftsmen (LAC), had no idea that he was honey-trapped into a deadlier spying network having roots in Pakistan and was passing sensitive information to various intelligence agencies of India’s hostile neignbour.
Unaware that he has become part of Pakistan ISI’s pan-India spy network, the Air Force official continued to do the job for over a year in exchange for money.
He was finally arrested from Bhatinda Air Force Station in a joint operation by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, IAF LU and Military Intelligence on Tuesday.
According to a report by the Hindustan Times, Ranjith was lured by a woman named ‘Damini McNaught’, whom he met on Facebook. Ranjith had received a Facebook friend request from the lady soon after he posted his profile picture in uniform on the social networking website.
The two regularly conversed through Facebook Messenger and exchanged emails. The two even had a telephonic conversation. McNaught posed as an editor with a leading magazine in the UK and urged Ranjith to work for them as a defence analyst, promising handsome remuneration in lieu of his work.
As per the report, McNaught started assigning “weekly tasks” to Ranjith after that. She reportedly gave him Google satellite maps of Bhatinda and asked him to specificity mark vital installations, including high rises from where the entire Air Force base is visible and other important buildings around the base.
In one such tasks, McNaught provided another map to Ranjith and asked him to pinpoint the exact location of the air traffic control, air force base and the parking space of the fighter planes.
Ranjith was also reportedly asked to mark the entire length and breadth of the runaway from where all fighters planes take off.
Interestingly, McNaught used to give Ranjith only specific queries. She never asked him to leak any sensitive document or plans but sought 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 was paid between Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000, as per report. The Special Cell, which is now looking into the case, believes several other defence officials may have also been fooled by the ISI module.
Elaborating on their modus operandi, they claim that these Pakistani agents select profiles of these defence personnel from Facebook and then send them friends request to start a conversation.
The Pakistani spy agencies have even hired educated women with British accent whom they use to honey-trap these defence personnel in order to get sensitive information out of them, the investigators believe.