Spy racket busted; BSF man, ISI agent held
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 29
The Delhi Police today busted an espionage racket by arresting a serving BSF man and a suspected ISI operative from whom classified documents having implications on national security were recovered.
Kafaitullah Khan, alias Master Raja (44), a resident of Kalai village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, is allegedly a handler of Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO) and head constable Abdul Rasheed is a dispatch rider with the BSF G Branch (intelligence wing) at Rajouri. Both are reportedly distant cousins.
“Khan has contacts in different security agencies through which he was procuring secret information, detrimental to the security of the country,” said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch). While Khan was arrested from the New Delhi railway station on November 27, Rasheed was arrested from Jammu today.
Yadav said Khan also had “sources” in the Indian Army and Indian Air Force.
Sources said Khan was enrolled in the BSF in September, 1989, but didn’t join the force. He joined the Jammu and Kashmir Police in 1990 but resigned after nine months. “He became an Over Ground Worker for the militants in the 1990s. The police had apprehended him several times but he could not be booked for want of evidence,” a source said.
“Rasheed is one of the main sources of Khan. Both of them have been arrested under the provisions of the Official Secrets Act,” Yadav said.
Sources in the BSF said the Delhi Police had contacted them regarding Rasheed around three days ago. “Upon interrogating Rasheed, we found that prima facie what the police said was true. He was giving information mostly about the units and locations of the army and the BSF. So we handed him to the police,” a source said.
An FIR (a copy is with The Tribune) in this regard was registered by the Crime Branch on November 16. The FIR reads that a secret informer informed the Crime Branch about anti-national activities supported by Pakistan-based intelligence operatives. “As per the information, the PIO (ISI agent) is having an Indian handler who is collecting information regarding the deployment of army and BSF in Jammu and Kashmir and passing it across the border, which can be hugely detrimental to national security,” the FIR read.
The FIR mentions that the handler is believed to have a pan-India network of informers. “Rasheed is passing secret information (about army, BSF, Air Force) to Khan in lieu of money and Khan is forwarding it to the PIO. The information contained can be directly or indirectly used by the enemy country,” the FIR said.
On November 26, Khan had reportedly boarded a train to Bhopal from Jammu. He was apprehended from Delhi on November 27 and few documents having implications on national security were allegedly recovered from him.
Khan had told the police that he was working as a library assistant at Higher Secondary School, Manjakote. “In 2013, he had visited Pakistan. During his stay there, he came in contact with an ISI agent and in lieu of monetary considerations agreed to provide secret information about defence forces,” Yadav said.
Dialogue only way to achieve better Indo-Pak ties: UN chief
United Nations, November 29
Improved relations between India and Pakistan could create a more conducive environment for the two nations to stem the threat posed by terrorism, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, asserting that dialogue is the only way for them to resolve the differences.
“I am convinced that dialogue is the only way forward for improving relations between Pakistan and India. I have urged leaders of both countries to resolve all differences through talks and have offered my good offices to that end,” Ban told PTI.
He noted that he has publicly called on both countries to exercise restraint in dealing with any incidents.
Given the significant threat terrorism has become to international peace and security, Ban said an improved environment between India and Pakistan could help both nations to tackle the threat posed by the scourge.
“I believe that an improved relationship between India and Pakistan could create a more conducive environment for both countries to stem the threat posed by terrorism,” he said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address to the UN General Assembly debate this year, had proposed a four- point peace initiative to which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had responded that Pakistan should address just “one issue” of giving up terrorism. The UN chief said that he is aware of the proposals on resuming talks between the two countries presented by leaders of both countries during the General Debate at the United Nations Headquarters this September.
“Terrorism has become a significant threat to international peace and security and is causing huge losses every day, as evidenced by recent horrific attacks in places such as Lebanon and Paris,” he said.
“Member States must work together towards curbing and eradicating this menace,” he said. He noted that Pakistan has suffered many terrorist attacks for which its people have paid a heavy price and the country’s authorities have been making efforts to combat terrorism on its soil. — PTI
3 new Commanders to take charge
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 29
Changes at the apex level in the Army are in the offing with the imminent retirement of several top commanders and some other officers completing their tenures. Lt General Rajan Bakshi, General Officer commanding-in-Chief, Central Command, is hanging up his boots on Monday and the slot is expected to be filled by Lt General BS Negi.
An infantry officer of 1978 seniority, Lt General Negi had earlier commanded the Leh-based 14 Corps that is responsible for the Siachen Glacier and the Line of Actual Control with China.
He moved as Commandant of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun in August. The names of two Lt Generals are doing the rounds for being posted as the IMA Chief.
Lt General Bipin Rawat, also an infantry officer of 1978 seniority who is presently heading 3 Corps at Dimapur in the East, is tipped to take over the reigns of the Southern Command at Pune, while Lt General Sarath Chand, an officer of 1979 seniority who is the GOC 4 Corps, is tipped to take over South Western Command at Jaipur when the respective incumbent commanders retire shortly.
Lt General Ashok Ambre has been appointed as the GOC of 9 Corps based at Yol under the control of the Western Command.
He relieves Lt General Rajeev Tiwari, who has been posted as the GOC Bengal Area at Kolkata. Lt General Amarjit Singh, GOC of the Ambala-based 2 Corps is also completing his tenure and is expected to move to Army Headquarters as a Principal Staff Officer. An officer from the Mechanised Infantry is tipped to take over 2 Corps.
Three top officers — Lt General KJ Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt General DS Hooda, GOC-in-C, Northern Command Command, and Lt General MMS Rai, Vice Chief of Army Staff — would retire in the latter half of next year.
Already some names of prospective officers who could be elevated as Army Commanders to fill these appointments are doing the rounds in the military establishment.
Coursemates of IAF’s_lone PVC awardee go down memory lane
Nirmaljit Sekhon’s squadron ‘Flying Bullets’ awarded President’s Standards
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 29
As coursemates of Flight Lieutenant Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, the Air Force’s only recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, paid tributes to his gallantry and camaraderie at their annual get-together here today, the squadron to which he belonged to also got recognition for its services when it was awarded the President’s Standards yesterday.
For members of the 97 general duty (pilot) and 36 general duty (navigator) courses, who had passed out in June 1967, it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane as old reminiscences of their flying days and wartime experiences came alive. They had came from all over the country for the event.
Flight Lieutenant Sekhon was serving with No.18 Squadron at Srinagar and was decorated posthumously with the nation’s highest gallantry award for taking upon and shooting several Pakistani Sabre aircraft that had attacked Srinagar airfield during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Sekhon’s Squadron, also known as Flying Bullets, had been raised on Gnat fighters at Ambala in 1965 and at present is flying MiG-27 ground attack aircraft. The President, Pranab Mukherjee, presented the Standards to 18 Squadron as well as No.22 Squadron at a grand ceremonial parade held at Hasimara.
“Nirmaljit was a gem of a person. Although a bit rustic, he had tremendous grit, determination and courage,” Wg Cdr Kamal Nath (retd), who holds a record of logging over 28,000 flying hours with the Air Force and later in the private sector, recalled. Sekhon was among the toppers of his course.
“Our course had 186 pilots, 27 navigators and three foreign cadets,” Wg Cdr CS Grewal (retd) said. “Two among us made it to the top with Air Marshal AK Singh and Air Marshal AD Joshi retiring as Commanders-in-Chief of the Western Air Command
and Strategic Command respectively,” he added. Among the course is Ari Cmde AD Karandikar, the IAF’s first Boeing 737 pilot, who later commanded the Communications Squadron, tasked with ferrying the top leaders, and logged a record of 13,900 accident free flying hours.
Pakistan-Based Ring Hacks Phones of Indian Army Personnel: Report
Press Trust of India , 3 November 2015
A private consortium has claimed that phones of Army personnel, who had downloaded some mobile application related to news, had been compromised by hackers based in Pakistan.
However, Information and Technology department denied any such reports saying that nothing of this had come before them.
"Last year cyber-security researchers at Indian Infosec Consortium (IIC) discovered that large number of Indian defence personal were being targeted by malwares and viruses posing as defence news websites and mobile apps.
"The espionage ring was found to be operated by actors based out of Pakistan," the website of Ground Zero Summit 2015 said.
When contacted the speaker on the subject, IIC CEO Jiten Jain said that based on the code analysis of news mobile applications and websites it was discovered that the operation was running at least over a period of last three years.
"Thousands of mobile phones were affected by these applications. The details were handed over to security agencies about six months ago which promptly sprung in to action and sanitised the affected phones and systems," Jain said.
However, Director General CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Team-India) B J Srinath said he was not aware of any such report. "At least I am yet to come across any such report so far," he said.
According to the Consortium, which is a group of ethical hackers who came under one umbrella after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Pakistan intelligence agencies were able to capture all communication made by officials from their mobile phone like calls and SMS, handling of cameras and videos of the mobile phone remotely without the knowledge of the owner.
Jain said he will be submitting the details of his findings during the forthcoming Ground Zero Summit, a conference of ethical hackers and cyber-security expert, on November 5 to make people aware about possible danger from mobile applications.