NEW DELHI: It is not just serving army and paramilitary personnel who are being trapped by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. Even retired veterans are being lured by the rogue Pakistani agency under the pretext of better job opportunities and financial assistance. Sources said the matter was reported to the Defence Ministry after an intelligence assessment revealed that the ISI had used false job recruitment pitches extensively and successfully and in several cases, approached veterans under the cover of ex-servicemen’s welfare associations.
According to sources, intelligence was received about a fake ex-servicemen’s association that was making calls to veterans asking them to join the organisation as members. The veterans were promised post-retirement job opportunities and financial aid. But, subsequently, the association started asking the veterans to find out information about serving colleagues and get more information about field formations, setting alarm bells ringing.
“Some of them might not be aware that they were being asked to betray the country’s defence secrets by reviving ties with serving personnel for current information,” the sources said. Since agencies do not consider the retired as good sources of reliable information, the ISI started pressuring them to interact with officials. After intercepting some reliable inputs and getting reports from intelligence agencies, the Home Ministry informed the Defence Ministry about the ISI’s new modus operandi of recruiting veterans in the guise of ex-servicemen’s welfare association.
“We have come across several fake associations and swift action has been taken to neutralise the penetration. In some cases, we have asked for further probe,” the sources said. Home Ministry officials said around 15 ISI moles have been taken out by counter-intelligence units on the charges of spying for the ISI in 2015 alone. Since 2013, at least 35 ISI moles have been nabbed. Earlier this week, Ranjith, an airman with the Indian Air Force, was arrested for allegedly sharing secret information with an ISI female agent. Ranjith was honey-trapped by ISI agent Damini McNaught.