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Top Army officer's link surfaces in spy case

Source: PTI
April 28, 2010 17:54 IST
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In a new dimension to the sensational case of an Indian woman diplomat arrested on charge of spying for Pakistan, a high-ranking Army officer and an external intelligence agency official have come under the scanner of security agencies.

The diplomat, 53-year-old Madhuri Gupta, continued to be grilled in detention today about information she is suspected to have passed on to Pakistani intelligence agencies. She was arrested six days ago after being called back from Islamabad where she was posted as second secretary.

During Gupta's interrogation and earlier surveillance, the security agencies have zeroed in on a couple residing in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir who were in regular touch through e-mail and telephone with the arrested diplomat in Islamabad. The Rajouri-based woman had gone to Pakistan several times.

Top sources said the senior Army officer used to visit the Rajouri couple while he was posted in the region. He is related to the couple but his frequent visits to them have aroused suspicion of the security agencies, the sources said.

Some of the e-mails exchanged between Gupta and the Rajouri woman are part of the documents being held as evidence against the diplomat, who is in the custody of the Delhi Police Special Cell.

The role of the external intelligence agency official is also being investigated. Gupta may have been taking information from him, the sources said.

However, it was not immediately clear whether he knew the woman officer's real designs. He could be questioned by the security agencies, they said.

Gupta, who belongs to IFS-B service, is the first official of the Foreign Service who has been arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistan.

Gupta is said to have been under surveillance of Indian security agencies for about four months before it was decided
to arrest her. Gupta was called to Delhi last week on the pretext of discussion over SAARC summit being held at Thimphu.

Security agencies briefed senior Ministry of External Affairs officials about her alleged activities in Pakistan which included supplying of sensitive and classified documents related to Indian interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan, sources said.

Gupta has been extensively questioned by sleuths of Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police officials during which she claimed she would obtain sensitive information within the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Sources said the woman diplomat had been allegedly passing information related to policy matters and movement of Indian officials to a Pakistani intelligence man identified as "Rana".

A promotee officer of Ministry of External Affairs, Gupta was working in the Mission for nearly three years and reportedly told the investigators that she had been passing information since 2008.

She was well versed in Urdu and her services were utilised for translation and interpretation. Earlier, she had a posting in the Indian Mission in Kuala Lumpur and worked with the 'India Perspective', a magazine of the External Publicity wing of the External Affairs Ministry.

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