Indian woman diplomat is held for spying for Pakistan (Roundup)April 27th, 2010 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Thimphu, April 27 (IANS) An Indian woman diplomat of second secretary rank, working with the Indian high commission in Islamabad, has been held here on charges of spying for Pakistan’s spy agency ISI. The Indian government Tuesday said it was questioning Madhuri Gupta for passing sensitive information to Pakistan. “We have reason to believe that an official in the Indian high commission in Islamabad has been passing information to the Pakistani intelligence agencies,” Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, said in Thimphu, where Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is participating in the SAARC summit.
“The matter is currently under investigation. The official is cooperating with our investigations and inquiries,” said Prakash.
The espionage incident comes ahead of a likely meeting between Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the two-day South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit that begins Wednesday.
The 53-year-old Gupta was arrested four days ago after she was summoned to Delhi on the pretext of consultations, official sources said. She was arrested immediately after she landed at the Indira Gandhi international Airport.
This is the first case of an Indian diplomat being arrested on charges of spying against one’s own country in recent times. Gupta was not a member of the elite Indian Foreign Service (IFS), but belonged to the secondary cadre known as IFS-B.
Gupta was produced again before a court Monday which remanded her to further police custody for another five days.
“The accused Madhuri Gupta was arrested from her house in east Delhi by Delhi Police’s Special Cell on charges of spying and leaking some important documents. Before the arrest, she was detained and questioned for 2-3 days,” a police source told IANS.
“She was serving in press and information wing of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan for the last couple of years. Her movements were being followed from past several months,” he said.
“The woman was produced in the court Monday after which she was sent to police custody,” the source added.
“We do not deny the report. But this is beyond the purview of the home ministry,” Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told Times Now channel.
Other sources said Gupta had been under the scanner for some time and the action was taken after it was confirmed that she was passing sensitive information to her handlers.
Gupta worked with the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), a foreign policy think tank, before she was posted at the Indian high commission in Islamabad. She worked here in 2006-2007 as assistant director, sources told IANS. The sources said she specialized in Urdu and was very keen to go to Pakistan.
But it’s not clear yet the extent of damage she did to India’s interests by passing on sensitive information. Diplomats, on condition of anonymity, said that as she worked with the information wing of the Indian high commission, she could not have had access to high-level classified information.
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