Spy ring passed info via social media, busted

After a month-long probe and with the arrest of two persons, sleuths have busted an espionage ring that have been passing on sensitive information on Army training sessions and exercises held in the border areas of Rajasthan to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan through social media sites.

The special branch of Rajasthan Police arrested Pawan Kumar Sharma, 26, a lower-division clerk with Rajasthan government and Syed Nizamuddin, 28, a Bangalore-based trader, on charges of spying. The modus operandi of passing information through Facebook and Orkut, developed by their Pakistan handler, has set the alarm bells ringing in New Delhi.

"We have arrested the two under the Officials Secrets Act and they are being questioned for their role in trading of information," ADG (intelligence) D S Dinkar told The Indian Express.

During the questioning of the two persons by the officials of Rajasthan Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), it was revealed that they used code languages to pass on information to their Pakistan handler over Facebook. They also found in their possession details of "Shoorveer", a recent Army and Air Force exercise in Rajasthan. The suspects had also provided information on the kinds of modern weapons used by the Army. "For different units of the Army and the Air Force, the handler had assigned different codes. This helped them avoid detection over the social media," said a senior officer handling the probe.

Syed Nizamuddin alias Nizam had created various Facebook and Orkut profiles which was used to communicate with his Pakistan handler. Officials have sought help from Google and Facebook for details of the email ids used by the accused persons.

It has also come out that Pawan, a LDC with the Sub Divisional Magistrate office in Sriganganagar district, by virtue of his posting, was aware of requests made by Army Headquarters to the district administration for their training exercise and troop movement in the area. Suratgarh in the district is considered to be a key Air Force base and is ground for regular war exercises.

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