Indian Embassy Employee Arrested for Allegedly Spying for Pakistan’s ISI

Satendra Siwal was arrested in Meerut by the Uttar Pradesh ATS after it was learnt from confidential sources that ISI handlers were luring MEA employees to obtain information relating to the Indian Army.

New Delhi: An Indian embassy employee who was working in Moscow has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in Meerut for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI.

The employee has been identified as Satendra Siwal.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) sources said that the ministry is aware of the arrest of Siwal in Uttar Pradesh, who was posted as Security Assistant in the Embassy of India, Moscow. The ministry is working with the investigative authorities in the matter.

In a statement, the ATS said that his arrest took place after the agency received intelligence from confidential sources that ISI handlers were luring MEA employees to obtain information relating to the Indian Army.

“The ATS was receiving intelligence from various confidential sources that the handlers of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, through some persons, were luring the employees of the Ministry of External Affairs with money to obtain strategically and strategically important information related to the Indian Army that is likely to pose a huge threat to the internal and external security of India,” reported NDTV.

Siwal was subsequently summoned to the ATS Field Unit in Meerut for interrogation. During questioning, he failed to provide satisfactory answers and confessed to being involved in spying activities.

Siwal has been working as an India Based Security Assistant (IBSA) at the Indian Embassy in Moscow since 2021, the report said.

The MEA’s bureau of security enlists India-Based Security Assistants from constables and head constables within state police forces.

According to a 2018 notification inviting applications, IBSAs are chosen for deputation for three years, with a mandatory minimum of two years to be spent posted at a diplomatic mission abroad.

Before departing for their international assignments, candidates undergo comprehensive training to familiarise themselves with the security-oriented structure of a diplomatic facility. This training also encompasses the maintenance of security devices responsible for controlling access, scanning personnel and vehicles, and ensuring the overall security of the premises.

As the training underlines, the job profile of a Security Assistant revolves around safeguarding both the premises and personnel of the diplomatic mission. Additional responsibilities may be assigned based on the specific requirements of the embassy. In 2017, India recalled three high commission employees from Islamabad, after it was suspected that they had been targeted for a ‘honeytrap’. Another high-profile case was of Madhuri Gupta, who was arrested in April 2010 after being recalled from her post in Indian high commission. She was convicted in May 2018 by a lower court, but died while her appeal in high court was pending.

A resident of Shahmahiuddinpur village in Hapur, Siwal was identified as a key player in this espionage network. He was allegedly extracting confidential documents by exploiting his position within the Indian Embassy in Moscow. 

Siwal was allegedly motivated by greed for money, and passed critical information concerning the strategic activities of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, and Indian military establishments to ISI handlers, as per the Police press note.

He has been arrested under sections of waging a war against the nation and other sections of the Official Secrets Act.