An Indian Air Force (IAF) officer has been arrested in Delhi on charges of intelligence and passing on classified information to Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI.
Group Captain Arun Marwaha, 51, leaked information and documents to two Pakistani agents who chatted with him on social media pretending to be women, say investigators.
The officer, posted at the IAF headquarters in Delhi, has been charged under the Official Secrets Act and faces up to seven years in jail.
Sources say after the officer befriended the ISI agents on Facebook – they had fake profiles as women – a few months ago and they began chatting regularly on WhatsApp. They purportedly even exchanged intimate messages. After gaining his trust, the agents asked the officer for classified documents. The officer shared them regularly on WhatsApp, according to sources. The information that he shared was reportedly on new agencies in the field of cyber warfare, space and special operations.
A senior Air Force officer discovered the huge breach a few weeks ago and set up an internal investigation. When Group Captain Marwaha’s role was revealed, IAF informed the Delhi Police. After questioning him for 10 days, the counter-intelligence wing of the Air Force turned the case over to the police.
The officer was arrested on Thursday as he was walking into the Air Force headquarters with his cellphone, which is not permitted in the building. He has been sent to five days’ police custody by a court.
Investigators from IAF’s counter intelligence wing are examining whether officer Marwaha was component of a larger espionage ring run from Pakistan, sources say.
The IAF has not officially commented on the arrest but sources say the officer was indulging in certain “unwanted activities” through “unauthorized electronic gadgets”.