Indian Army Launches Inquiry Into How Secret Data Leaked From Western Command Headquarters

Swarajya Staff

Sep 19, 2023, 05:00 PM | Updated 05:00 PM IST

Indian Army probing data leak. (Representative image) (RAVEENDRAN/AFP/GettyImages)
Indian Army probing data leak. (Representative image) (RAVEENDRAN/AFP/GettyImages)

The Indian Army has initiated an investigation into the suspected leak of classified information from the Western Command Headquarters in Chandimandir.

This follows the recent arrest by Punjab Police of an army jawan for allegedly passing secret documents to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in collaboration with an alleged drug smuggler.

The arrested individual, Sepoy Manpreet Sharma, is affiliated with the Army Service Corps and was apprehended by Patiala Police in Bhopal.

According to an Indian Express report, sources with access to privileged information have disclosed that the jawan had previously served in the Western Command, where he had computer access and had gathered classified information over an extended period, subsequently transferring it to the alleged drug trafficker, Amrik Singh.

In collaboration with Patiala Police, the army is conducting an investigation to ascertain the extent of the leaked information and the modus operandi employed by the jawan to gain access to classified data.

Over the past few days, a comprehensive audit encompassing both cyber and physical evaluations of confidential presentations and documents stored on computers, compact discs, and pen drives has been conducted at the Western Command Headquarters.

Several officers have also been subjected to questioning. Furthermore, it has come to light that Army Headquarters in New Delhi has sought a report from the Western Command regarding the matter.

Patiala SSP Varun Sharma, whose team unraveled this espionage-smuggling network, disclosed that the army soldier had previously spent time in Kaithal Jail due to a first information report (FIR) lodged against him related to an unrelated dispute.

It is suspected that during this period, he came into contact with some criminals who subsequently introduced him to Amrik Singh. Investigators are currently determining whether the army authorities were aware of the soldier's incarceration.

SSP Sharma stated, “We arrested Amrik Singh in a drugs case and conducted a forensic examination of his mobile phone, which revealed a substantial amount of secret and sensitive army information.

We interrogated him, and he confessed to his association with Sepoy Manpreet Sharma, who supplied him with the information.

An ISI handler operating under the alias Sher Khan was identified as the recipient of the classified information. Both Amrik Singh and the army jawan have been taken into police custody and are currently under questioning.

In response to inquiries, Western Command authorities stated that they are in the process of determining the specifics of the leaked information.

They refuted claims that the accused worked within the Operations Room of the Command HQ, asserting that "the jawan was not working in the Ops Room but in one of the branches of Command HQs."

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