Indian Air Force officer arrested in Delhi on charges of espionage

An officer of the Indian Air Force has been arrested by Delhi Police's special cell unit on charges of espionage and passing on classified information to Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Group Captain Arun Marwaha, 51, leaked sensitive information and documents to two Pakistani agents. Investigators say that the ISI agents honey trapped him on social media pretending to be women. The officer, posted at the IAF headquarters in Delhi, was detained by the IAF counter-intelligence wing on January 31. He is a para-jumping instructor and was in charge of training the elite Garud Commando Force. He has been charged under the Official Secrets Act and faces up to 14 years in jail. He was due to retire next year. Police are now investigating whether officer Marwaha was part of a larger conspiracy.

A few months back, reports suggest, the Pak agents started chatting with the officer regularly on WhatsApp and allegedly even exchanged intimate messages. After gaining his trust, the agents asked the officer for classified documents in return for obscene photos. The information was reportedly on new agencies in the field of cyber warfare, space and special operations.

The officer was arrested on Thursday when he was entering into the Air Force headquarters with his cellphone, which is not allowed in the building. He was produced before a magistrate in the Patiala House Courts Complex. Currently, his phone and laptop have been confiscated and has been sent to five days' police custody by a court.

A senior Air Force officer discovered the massive breach a few weeks back and started an internal investigation. After questioning him for 10 days, IAF handed him over to the Delhi Police. A police official was quoted in The Hindu saying, “During routine counter intelligence surveillance carried out by the IAF's Central Security and Investigation Team it was discovered that an officer was indulging in certain unwanted activities through unauthorized electronic devices, which is against existing orders.”

“The IAF officer befriended the ISI agents on Facebook - they had fake profiles as women - a few months ago and they started chatting regularly on WhatsApp. They allegedly even exchanged intimate messages and pictures,” said the police official.