National flags of India and Pakistan. Photo: iStock
National flags of India and Pakistan. Photo: iStock

An Indian man was arrested on Thursday in Punjab, a border state in northwestern India, on charges of working as a spy for the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

In a move that could hit Indo-Pakistani ties, the man, identified as Ravi Kumar, was booked under provisions of the Official Secrets Act and Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

The man had in his possession hand-drawn maps of restricted areas, photocopies of the Indian Army’s confidential training manual, sensitive information on the Army’s attack formations and photos of important installations, the Punjab Police said.

He was arrested by the State Special Operations Cell and Military Intelligence near Amritsar district in Punjab.

During questioning, Kumar allegedly admitted that he was recruited through Facebook by an ISI official around seven months ago, then briefed about his work in Dubai after his travel was sponsored by ISI.

He had the task of informing ISI about the Indian Army’s training and activities, movement of army units, bunker construction on the Indian side of the Indo-Pakistan border and other confidential matters. ISI, in return, sent him funds routed via Dubai.

A statement by the Punjab Police said that Pakistani intelligence agencies were running many fake Facebook accounts on names of young girls and trying to befriend unemployed youths and former Indian army officials in a bid to recruit them as spies. Those reports were now being investigated.

Punjab has been rife with controversy lately because of the separatist Khalistani movement and ISI’s alleged involvement in that.

Late last year Punjab’s Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that about eight targeted political killings in Punjab were believed to have been carried out on orders of ISI officials as part of a major conspiracy to inflame communal violence and destabilize the state.

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