Lure of a 'model' led Group Captain Arun Marwah to leak secrets of Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force Group Captain Arun Marwah was today arrested by the special cell of the Delhi Police for leaking classified information to a woman who presented herself as a model.
Booked under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and sent to five days' police custody, Arun Marwah was posted at the Air Force headquarters. He had befriended the woman through Facebook and was sending her classified documents over WhatsApp.
WHO IS GROUP CAPTAIN MARWAH?
Arun Marwah joined Sainik School in 1972 and passed out in 1979. After completing two years of graduation, he joined the 64th course of Indian Military Academy and was commissioned in the Indian Air Force.
In 1983, he opted for para-division of the Indian Air Force. Three years later, he became an instructor. Sources say he had been an efficient officer till he was found leaking secret documents.
One of the few specialised para-instructors, Arun Marwah was stationed in Agra. Since all defence services commando units are trained on land, sea and in air, Group Captain Marwah was the instructor for army's special forces like Air Force Garuda and Navy's Marcos. After joining as JD (Operations), he had access to many confidential files.
HOW HE WAS HONEY-TRAPPED?
Around six months back, Arun Marwah was honey-trapped on social media. The details of him being trapped reminds of a cinematic script gone wrong.
Marwah was very active on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook, where he uploaded videos and photographs. Due to his frequent social media postings, he came on the radar of an espionage network of Pakistan's ISI.
He received two friend requests on Facebook from Kiran Randhawa and Mahima Patel. Marwah accepted the friend requests looking at the profiles of the senders. Now, these profiles have been found to be fake and created by the ISI. Photographs of models were used as profile pictures on these Facebook profiles.
Initially the chats were limited to comments and likes. But that was like throwing the net to catch the 'bird' in it. Soon, explicit chats and videos followed as attempts to lure the IAF Group Captain. Having been a brilliant officer, he was expected to get alarmed. But Marwah was honey-trapped by the lure of 'models'.
ISI COMES IN
Marwah had two SIM cards in his phone. Once trapped, ISI agents in Pakistan got active. They asked him to use an OTP (one time password) to send sensitive documents on a virtual WhatsApp number.
Among the instructions given to all IAF personnel is that they have to deposit their smartphones at the entry gate while they head to the Air Force headquarters. But Marwaha used his seniority and carried his phone inside always. Not all the IAF officers are frisked and physically checked.
Marwah's chats with the 'models' were saved by the ISI agents, who then blackmailed Marwah. They threatened him that his chats would be made public if he refused to do what they wanted. Marwah panicked and instead of informing his superiors, he became a source for ISI.
Three documents pertaining to Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency and Special Operations were given to ISI over WhatsApp. In mid-January, the Air Force's counter-intelligence came to know of it and put him under surveillance. He was detained on January 31 but arrested only yesterday.
He is not the first case of being honey-trapped over social media. In December 2015, an IAF personnel was arrested from Bhatinda Airbase after he passed on classified information to an ISI agent. Posing as Jane's Defence Weekly correspondent, Damini McNaught (fake profile) had managed to lure the IAF personnel.