Accused soldiers shared over 900 classified documents pertaining to defence and national security to Pakistani Intelligence Officers, says DGP Dinkar Gupta
DAWN PUNJAB BUREAU
CHANDIGARH / JALANDHAR
The Punjab Police on Tuesday busted a major cross-border espionage network with the arrest of two Army personnel on charges of spying and providing classified documents to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.
Those arrested have been identified as Sepoy Harpreet Singh (23), who hails from village Cheecha in Amritsar and was posted in Anantnag. He joined the Indian Army in 2017 and belongs to 19 Rashtriya Rifles. Sepoy Gurbhej Singh (23), a native of village Punian in Tarn Taran, belongs to 18 Sikh Light Infantry and was working as a clerk in Kargil. He had joined the Indian Army in 2015.
Sharing details, Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta, said that Jalandhar Rural Police led by SSP Naveen Singla, while investigating an NDPS case, recovered confidential and secret documents related to the functioning and deployment of the Indian Army from cross-border drug smuggler Ranvir Singh, who was arrested with 70 grams heroin on May 24, 2021.
He said that, during interrogation, Ranvir disclosed that he got these documents from Sepoy Harpreet Singh, who was his friend, as they both belong to the same village.
“Ranvir motivated and lured Sepoy Harpreet Singh with financial benefits for sharing defence related classified documents, following which the latter induced his friend Sepoy Gurbhej into such anti-national spying activities,” said DGP Dinkar Gupta, while adding that since Gurbhej was working as a clerk in 121 Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Kargil, he could get easy access to these classified documents containing both strategic and tactical information relating to the Indian Army.
He said that both the accused Army personnel had already shared photos of over 900 classified documents— pertaining to defence of the country and national security to Ranvir Singh over a period of 4 months between February and May 2021 who had further passed them on to Pakistani Intelligence Officers.
The DGP revealed that Ranvir further used to send these classified documents to either the Pakistan ISI operatives directly or via Gopi, who has been identified as the main drug smuggler from village Dauke in Amritsar having links with Pakistan based drug-smuggling syndicates and ISI officials, who invariably work in tandem with each other.
Following Ranvir’s disclosures, the Police have also arrested Gopi, who has confessed to having transferred classified documents to Pakistan-based drug smuggler, one of whom has been identified as Kothar and an alleged Pak ISI operative identified as Sikander in lieu of supply of heroin and financial benefits, DGP Dinkar Gupta said adding that all these photographs were transmitted over encrypted Apps.
According to preliminary investigations, DGP Dinkar Gupta said that Harpreet Singh and Gurbhej Singh got monetary inducements for sharing confidential information. He said that Ranvir Singh gave money to Harpreet Singh, who further used to transfer it to Gurbhej’s account.
SSP Naveen Singla said that the Army authorities had handed over both the accused Army personnel to Jalandhar Rural Police and further investigations were being carried out to ascertain the involvement of any other accused persons.
Meanwhile, sections 124-A and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 3, 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act have been added after nominating the names of both the Army personnel and Gopi in the FIR no. 73 dated May 24, 2021, which was initially registered against Ranvir under sections 21(B)/61/85 of the NDPS act at Police Station Mehatpur in Jalandhar Rural.