Thirteen personnel from the Indian Navy have been arrested for allegedly leaking state secrets over social media to Pakistani intelligence. According to reports, the 13 men were allegedly honey-trapped and thus agreed to divulge sensitive information.
A report in India Today states that initially seven arrests were made as part of the ‘Operation Dolphin Nose’ in a joint operation by the Andhra Pradesh police, the Navy intelligence and central intelligence agencies. The arrested personnel mostly hail from various naval bases, including Mumbai, Karwar and Visakhapatnam.
The Andhra Pradesh police, as well as the Navy police, are tight-lipped about the operation. TNM reached out to multiple officials in the Andhra Pradesh police, but the officials refused to comment.
The fresh arrests come two months after the Andhra Pradesh police stated that they busted an espionage racket with links to Pakistan. In December 2019, the Andhra Pradesh police had arrested seven personnel of the Indian Navy as well as a hawala operator in connection with the case, and media reports had stated then that the Navy sailors had also been honey-trapped. The sailors, who were from naval bases in Mumbai, Karwar and Vishakapatnam, were later remanded to judicial custody.
Shortly after these arrests, the Indian Navy banned the use of all smartphones and social networking platforms on board ships and naval bases.
According to an earlier report by IANS, the agencies pointed that Vishakapatnam, the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy and also the base of the nuclear submarine Arihant, was exposed to the espionage racket. It also stated that the Eastern Command keeps tab upon the suspicious Chinese ship movements in the Indian waters.
The Andhra police had earlier told IANS that all the arrested officials were in touch with Pakistani women who had befriended them on Facebook.