Pakistani Agent of Fear Sends Chill Down Defence Ministry Spine
By Yatish Yadav
Published: 02nd Mar 2014 07:52:22 AM
Away from the glittering glory of medals won in battle and blood, the spit and polish of boots on parade and the intimidating bulks of battle tanks roaring at night during military exercises on the Western border lies a murky darkness inhabited by shadowy, traitorous figures that live by treachery and subterfuge.
On February 23, a traitor was unmasked when Indian investigators swooped on the house where Inderpal Singh Kushwaha, just retired from the Army, lived. They found enough proof to be convinced that Kushwaha worked for Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI). The raid on his Cariappa Marg residence in the leafy, deceptively somnolent Jhansi Cantt yielded deployment details of Indian Army’s Arjun tank regiments, CDs with classified information on war games, classified minutes of the meetings involving senior army officers, a copy of a confidential battle presentation by the Gorkha regiment, annual confidential reports of Army officers and more. A top intelligence officer said that the 51-year-old mole had been shipping top military secrets to his ISI handler Sikander in Pakistan for the last 7-8 years. Kushwaha had codenamed Sikander ‘Major Anil.’
The fact that the spy served for nearly a decade as the personal assistant to many senior army officers in sensitive posts is sending shivers down the spine of the Defence Ministry. As the story unfolds, the extent of damage the traitor has caused India’s defence preparedness is being ascertained. It is going to be a long haul. And the haul was big enough to strike fear in the security establishment. Kushwaha who retired as a subedar in October, 2013, had used his position to gain access to secret files, according to Army Intelligence sources. ATS sleuths also recovered CDs containing secret coded communications downloaded from the army’s intranet server. Some of the seized documents date as far back to 2005-2006, suggesting that the damage done is extensive. Kushwaha’s last posting was as Personal Assistant to the Brigadier of 31 Artillery brigade in Jhansi, a specialised unit dedicated to provide heavy weapons support during war. Kushwaha had been posted at various places including Kota, Jaipur and Siliguri.
“What is shocking is the recovery from his possession of ultra sensitive minutes of senior army officials meetings and specific details of tank deployments. So far four banks accounts in his name in ICICI, PNB and SBI have been unearthed and a team of officials are already examining the transactions,” the source said.
Investigators feel that further interrogation of the ISI mole would throw up more links. They suggest he may not be operating alone. “Although over 30 ISI modules have been neutralised in the past three years, the documents recovered from Kushwaha reveals that he was the biggest ISI mole who had access to top secret documents,” he added.
Last year, Home Ministry official Surendra Sharma working in the Office of Foreigners Division was arrested after Counter-Intelligence unit of Army and the Intelligence Bureau busted the ‘Pokhran ISI spy ring’ in Rajasthan. Sharma was allegedly supplying classified information to ISI operative Sumer Khan. The Home Ministry estimates that security agencies have arrested at least 48 ISI spies including 10 Pakistani agents and 38 Indians in the last three years. Of the 38 Indian moles, 10 were government officials, including two ex-servicemen, three serving personnel and three civilians.
For long, the guardians of national security has been battling the demons of deceit—spies recruited and trained by ISI whose sole aim is to destabilize India. At a time the Armed Forces have been plunged into a self destructive crisis with personal duels erupting between senior commanders, political buccaneers filibusting hierarchies and lives sacrificed by defective equipment, Khushwaha’s arrest could have consequences for the Army’s morale.
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