29 December, New Delhi
An Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel, who was lured into spying for Pakistan’s spy agency ISI while chatting with a woman on Facebook, was dismissed from service and was arrested from an airbase in Punjab, a police official said on Tuesday.
“We have arrested an IAF personnel from Punjab on charges of spying for ISI,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav said here.
Ranjith K.K., hailing from Kerala, was arrested from Punjab at the Bathinda airbase as he was spying for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), police said.
An IAF official said Ranjith, who was a Leading Aircraftman with the Indian Air Force, was dismissed on Monday evening after evidence was found against him for sharing sensitive information with others.
“It was a long drawn case. After an internal administrative inquiry, we dismissed Ranjith around 5.30 p.m. on Monday,” the IAF sources said.
Joint Commissioner Ravindra Yadav said Delhi Police Crime Branch officials, who have already been probing the ISI espionage racket since the arrest of some people earlier this month, had shared information with the IAF about Ranjith’s suspected links with ISI.
“Ranjith was later detained by the IAF and handed over to us. We arrested him on Monday and brought him to Delhi on transit remand,” Yadav said.
He said the modus operandi was basically a “honey trap”.
The official said Ranjith was trapped in the spy ring through an unidentified woman with whom he had begun to chat over Facebook, a social networking site. He was in touch with a person having a Facebook profile of “Damini McNaught”, who portrayed that she was an executive of a Britain-based magazine.
The woman said the magazine wanted some information about the Indian Air Force, and promised pecuniary benefits in exchange.
Yadav said Ranjith, who had joined the IAF in 2010, has admitted to having “passed airforce related information pertaining to recent Indian Air Force exercises, movement of aircraft and deployment of various units in the IAF”.
He also said that in return, Ranjith had received monetary benefit in his bank account.
As per investigations, Ranjith was “befooled by cross-border spies and had received a few VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls on his mobile numbers in which the … female with British accent introduced herself as Damini McNaught”.
“She interviewed Ranjith and then assigned him the task of getting the information. She deceived him by saying that the information will be published,” said Yadav.
Ranjith is the sixth person to be arrested by Delhi Police for being part of an espionage racket backed by ISI.
Five other people, including a serving and a former army personnel and a serving BSF personnel, were arrested earlier this month.