In a major breakthrough, Indian intelligence agencies have busted a “call centre” being run by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan in Jhelum city, 116 km from Islamabad.
The call centre, a major counter-intelligence hub of ISI, aimed at targeting the Indian Army and government officials in honey-traps, was being operated with the help of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
The ISI-backed call centre was using Indian SIM cards, seized by Pakistan customs from Indian travellers, mostly women, visiting their relatives in Pakistan. Over 100 Indian SIM cards have been traced as the Delhi Police along with the police of a few other states launched a nationwide investigation into a sensational honey-trap scandal. The Indian SIM cards of female Indian travellers were used to camouflage identities of Pakistani women operating from call centres located across the border.
Through Indian SIM cards and fake Indian IDs were created in Facebook bearing names like Sangeeta Mishra, Ayesha Roy, Nita Singh etc. Pakistani girls engaged by the call centre were especially trained in speaking fluent Hindi with a North Indian accent. With the help of ISI handlers, these girls primarily searched Indian security personnel on social media platforms and later approached them. After initial chats with the target group, the girls made video calls on Facebook and recorded them.
The girls then shifted to WhatsApp for more intimate chats. The Indian officials trapped by the ISI call centre, at the outset had an impression that they were chatting with Indian girls.
Sources in the Delhi Police revealed to IANS that the scandal was unearthed when one woman from Delhi was questioned by the sleuths. The woman in the early thirties disclosed that her SIM card and the phone was seized by the Pakistan Customs during her visit to Pakistan. During further investigation, it was discovered that the same SIM card of Delhi woman, bearing a Delhi mobile number was being used at PTCL call centre run by ISI from Jhelum City.
“The woman also revealed that Indian mobile phone and SIM cards of Indian travellers were seized by Pakistani authorities who declared that no Indian mobile phone or SIM card would be allowed to be used on Pakistani soil for security purposes,” said an officer of the Delhi police.
Sources said initially the Military Intelligence got a whiff of the honey-trap scandal when few Indian security personnel got involved in such cases on Facebook and other social media platforms. Later when the Indian mobile numbers were tracked and owner of the SIM cards were traced in India, the agencies became aware of the ISI’s notorious design to trap Indian officials.
Sources said earlier this year, Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh traced 125 fake IDs of women on Facebook, which were a plant of ISI to honey-trap Indian paramilitary and Army officials. The data of fake accounts was shared by the Intelligence Bureau and military agency with ATS.
The Indian agencies shared its data with other state police since BrahMos Aerospace engineer Nishant Agarwal and BSF jawan Achutyanand Mishra were honey-trapped by ISI in October last year. Sources said several other personnel of Indian security agencies were seduced by the Pakistani girls through Facebook and Whatsapp. Like ATS UP, the Delhi Police is now scanning several hundred such Facebook accounts of ISI trained girls which have Indian security personnel on their friend’s list.