A day after the questioning of a Home Ministry employee for having links with an alleged ISI spy, yet another suspected case of Pakistan’s intelligence service trying to break into India’s critical security network has come to light. The elite National Security Guard (NSG) has initiated an inquiry into a suspected ISI agent calling up its officer to get details of investigations into the recent twin blasts in Hyderabad.
The NSG has claimed that its officer, a Major on deputation from the Army, did not share any crucial information with the ISI agent, who had called the EPBX system at NSG’s headquarters here. Significantly, the caller, reportedly from Pakistan, who identified himself as an officer of India’s Military Intelligence unit, had asked for the Major by name and got details about the movement of the ‘Black Cats’ to Dilsukhnagar where the blasts took place. NSG sources denied sharing information about the nature of explosives or the probe with the suspected agent.
As per standard operation procedure, such information cannot be shared on unsecured lines (EPBX or general exchange) and only secured lines can be used for such critical purposes and information shared only after thorough crosschecks.
But this incident has brought back to the limelight the demand by intelligence and investigative agencies to block or allow restricted use of Internet telephony, a project which is being pursued by the Department of Telecom to improve Internet penetration in the country. Indian intelligence agencies have already sounded alerts over the misuse of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Internet telephony by terrorists and ISI agents from Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
MHA sources said security agencies have found that terrorists operating from Kashmir and Pakistan are using this technology; and with the State police and the telecom department not having the wherewithal to crack such calls, the problem is only getting aggravated. Security agencies are worried as it is difficult to ascertain the time and origin place of a VoIP call immediately. It is all the more difficult if the call is made from abroad, particularly when a call is made from an unregistered user.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry said it has eliminated over 30 ISI-backed spy modules and 48 spies in the last three years. Since 2010 till February 2013, 31 espionage modules have been neutralised throughout the country resulting in the arrest of 38 Indians and 10 Pakistani spies.