Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) set up a honeytrap for three officials of the Indian high commission in Islamabad to extract sensitive information from them, TOI has learned. The officials, whose names are being withheld because investigations are still on, were recalled from Pakistan earlier this week after they revealed the ISI plot and are currently being questioned.
Fortunately for India, the bid was foiled as authorities here got wind of the plot before any classified document could be passed on to ISI. The
recalled officials, as of now, are not suspected of any wrongdoing and are helping in carrying forward the investigations. It’s unlikely though that they will be asked to serve in Pakistan again.
The use of a femme fatale by spy agencies to lure officials of enemy nations is a common practice all over the world but it’s rare for an Indian official in Pakistan to be ensnared. In this case, too, the officials seem to have realised early on what they were being led into, after which they decided to approach senior Indian authorities for help. The officials were asked to return to Delhi immediately.
The Indian officials worked with the language section and were responsible for translation of official documents. It seems several attempts have been made in the recent past to lure junior Indian officials to local hotels by women. “The attempt even in this case was to seduce them and later film them in a compromising position,” said a source familiar with the matter.
The government will decide in the next few days how to proceed in the matter. Indian agencies here are also trying to verify if similar attempts were made to seduce any other junior-level official of the Indian mission.
An Indian official who served in Pakistan many years ago said the use of a seductress to lure unwary officials is even more prevalent than the use of cash. “Cash is difficult to account for and will leave a trail to follow,” he said.
A second secretary with the Indian high commission’s press division, Madhuri Gupta, was arrested in 2010 after she allegedly fell in love with a young ISI official and passed on classified documents about India’s developmental work in Afghanistan. Gupta was apparently unhappy with her service conditions, including the fact that she had been promoted to the IFS ‘B’ category very late in her career.
Already on a wing and a prayer, India’s relationship with Pakistan may receive another jolt with these developments this week. India and Pakistan expelled several diplomats last year after a Pakistani diplomat was held in India for spying and ordered to leave. The two countries are currently finalising the modalities for a meeting between former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in Pakistan’s custody for alleged espionage, and his wife and mother. Indian officials said that even as the matter remains pending before the ICJ, they’ll continue to also seek consular access to him.