New Delhi: Diplomat Madhuri Gupta,
arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan, joins a list of
several top Indian officials accused of leaking sensitive
information or falling into honey trap in the past few
The last such case is that of Navy officer Commodore
Sukhjinder Singh, now being probed for his alleged liaison
with a Russian woman between 2005 and 2007 -- when he was
posted in Russia as the head of Indian team overseeing the
refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
A board of inquiry, set up against Singh after his
objectionable photographs with the unidentified woman
surfaced, is now probing whether his "loose moral conduct" and
indiscretions have any connections with the Gorshkov deal
which has been signed after a lot of negotiations due to the
cost hike of the carrier.
In May 2008, a senior Indian Embassy official in
Beijing was called back to New Delhi for falling to the charms
of a Chinese honey trap.
Manmohan Sharma, a senior Research and Analysis Wing
(RAW) officer, was alleged to be in a romantic affair with his
Chinese language teacher. Indian authorities suspected the
woman could be an informant of the Chinese government and
gathered information about India`s moves and counter-moves on
the border talks.
In October 2007, a 1975 batch Research and Analysis
Service (RAS) officer Ravi Nair was called back from Hong Kong
for his `friendship` with a girl believed to be working for a
Chinese spy agency.
However, within a brief time Nair was again given a
foreign posting in Colombo where the woman also came and
allegedly started staying with him, raising suspicion.
The officials of other departments, posted at the
Indian High Commission, sent reports about Nair to their
respective departments paving way for his recall.
Like any other snooping agency, India`s external
Intelligence agency RAW has also a history of officials
switching their loyalties to foreign agencies.
The most infamous case which shook RAW out of reverie
was that of Rabinder Singh who became a mole of American
intelligence agency CIA and flew to the US despite being under
Singh initially worked with the Indian Army and held a
very senior position with RAW handling Southeast Asia. By the
time the agency sensed his affiliations, Singh escaped to the
US through Nepal in 2004.
The second blow came in 2006 with the discovery of
another alleged CIA mole in India`s National Security Council
Secretariat, which is part of the Prime Minister`s Office.
In the early 90s, an Indian Naval attache posted in
Islamabad reportedly fell in love with a Pakistani woman
working in the Military Nursing Service in Karachi.
The attache was interrogated and then forced to
resign. Reports said the official, who had initially claimed
having recruited the woman as a spy, was being blackmailed by
the ISI, which wanted his services after his return to the
Naval Headquarters in Delhi.
Then a personal assistant to a very senior RAW
official disappeared in London in the early 90s.
Ashok Sathe, another official was also believed to
have defected to the US after his mysterious disappearance.
Sathe was said to be behind burning down of RAW office in
Khurramshahr in Iran.
In the early 1980s, a senior field officer disappeared
in London. As attache in Kathmandu, he was alleged to be
liaisoning with foreign intelligence agencies.
In another case, a senior Intelligence Bureau (IB)
official, who was due to take over as the chief of
counter-intelligence, had an "unauthorised" relationship with
a female US consular officer. His meetings with her were
recorded on camera by the IB, and he was forced to retire
However, in the history of Indian intelligence, the
most written about case was that of K V Unnikrishnan, a RAW
officer dealing with the LTTE. He had developed a relationship
with an air hostess believed to be an intelligence scion. He
was arrested just ahead of a peace accord signed between India
and Sri Lanka.
The oldest case of `honey trapping`, when an Indian
diplomat during the time of the first prime minister
Jawaharlal Nehru was trapped by a Russian girl in Moscow.
When the Russian spy agency KGB presented him with the
pictures of his activities with the girl, the diplomat
informed his ambassador about his relationship and the KGB`s
attempts to blackmail him.
The ambassador raised the issue with Nehru, who was
himself in charge of the External Affairs Ministry. Nehru just
laughed it off, warning the young diplomat to be more careful