VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh Intelligence Department has launched ‘Operation Dolphin’s Nose’, in association with the Central Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, and busted an espionage racket having links with Pakistan. Intelligence officials arrested seven Navy personnel and a hawala operator in connection with the espionage racket, and produced them in the NIA Special Court in Vijayawada on Friday. The court remanded them to 14-day judicial custody.
According to sources, all the seven arrested Navy personnel are in their late twenties and entered Indian Navy as sailors in 2017. While three of them are from the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam, two others are from Mumbai naval base and another two from Karwar naval base. Using fake profiles on Facebook, 3-4 women, reported to be ISI agents, entered into an online relationship with the accused sailors and honey-trapped them.
The sources further revealed that these agents introduced a businessman, who is suspected to be an ISI handler, and they started collecting critical Navy information such as location of ships, submarines and other security data from September, 2018.
In return, the sailors received money from the agents through the hawala operator based in Mumbai. Naval Intelligence officials who found their behaviour suspicious, alerted the AP and Central intelligence agencies and the accused were kept under surveillance for the past few months. A case was registered against them under the Official Secrets Act. The whereabouts of ISI agents and the handler are being tracked, sources added.