Love, bots aur dhoka: India’s Honey Trap headache
New Delhi, June 21: There was some amount of escalation before the Indian elections and now the problem appears to have come right back. The issue here is honey-trapping that Pakistan is undertaking to trap officers and jawans of the Indian Army.
Two major incidents have been reported in recent times and both modus operandi have been different. While in the first instance, it was a technical operation, in the other it involved the age old trick of luring through some sweet talk.
Sejal Kapoor stated on Facebook that she is an employee with a firm called Growth Company. Her name cropped up following the investigation into the BrahMos spy case of 2018. Following the arrest of Nishant Agarwal, Sejal's Facebook page cropped up.
In one of the chats, she says install the whisper application, check your desktop, open it and then send me the code. Let us talk there. She then goes on to state that it is a chat application and everyone in the UK are using it.
The other application she speaks about is Gravity Rat. Both these applications are Malware. After the application is downloaded, it prompts the user to enter a code. Once this is done, it scans all the applications on the desktop which includes attachments on mails.
In this case, it was a young soldier who was trapped. The modus operandi here was a simple one. It began on WhatsApp. The girl tells the soldier that she is working in Pune.
After a couple of chats, she asks him a series of innocent questions. Questions ranged from what is the difference between a major and captain. What does an Army map look like.
The soldier shares the information and when he tried to ask her why she wanted this information, she says that she wants to marry him. Please don't leave me.
All this was being watched by the Northern Command Headquarters at Udhampur. The command was already tracking a series of similar cases. The information sought by these women were innocent and such information is already there with Pakistan. The idea was to lure the person and then deposit money into the account. Once this was done, they planned on holding the soldier ransom and eliciting much more sensitive information.
An army of agents:
In January, there were at least 50 jawans under the scanner. In this case, the lady went by the name Anika Chopra, who posed as an Army Captain at the Military Nursing Corps.
Honey trapping has been an age old trick of any spy agency. However for India, the biggest problem today comes in the form of a Rs 3,500 crore annual budget that has been set aside by the ISI only to honey trap Indian soldiers.
The honey trap wing of the ISI is being run from Faridkot. Since 2015, the ISI has earmarked a budget of nearly Rs 3,500 crore for this unit. This only goes on to show, how important the unit is for the ISI. After a trap is laid, the information is either elicited through blackmail or in the lure for cash. The ISI agents, who set the trap pay anything between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for the information.
The ISI has been looking to trap as many as 200 such young recruits and recent investigations showed that the Pakistan agents were already in touch with over 50 of them. When the police had arrested Gaurav Kumar, a resident of Rohtak, they found that he was asked to click pictures, each time he visited the Army training camp. He had plans of joining the Indian Army and was training for the same.
He had already been trapped before he could join the forces. It was found that he had visited 18 Army recruitment camps from where he is alleged to have shared a lot of information. Not only do the operations run from Faridkot, but the ISI has also managed to set up dedicated modules within India to honey trap officials. There are modules in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, which exclusively report to the Faridkot.