India’s Investigative Agency Arrests Main Conspirator in Navy Espionage Racket

In a major international espionage racket, Pakistani spies recruited agents in the defence establishment of India to collect sensitive and classified information regarding Indian warships, submarines, and data on the location of naval commands. Navy personnel were also accused of spying for Pakistan.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested Mohammed Haroon Haji Abdul Rehman Lakdawala, a key conspirator in the spy racket from 2019, in which some Navy personnel were hand in gloves with Pakistani nationals for monetary gains in exchange of crucial information.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Lakdawala had visited Karachi on various occasions to meet the handlers on the pretence of conducting cross-border trade, confirmed the National Investigation Agency.

“During these visits, he came in contact with two Pakistani spies namely Akbar alias Ali and Rizwan, who directed him to deposit money into the bank accounts of Navy personnel at regular intervals. The same was done through different means”, said the NIA in a statement.

Further investigation in the case will be done with respect to a number of digital devices and documents seized from Lakdawala’s house by the NIA.

So far, a total of 14 accused have been arrested from all over the country, including 11 Navy personnel and one Pakistani-born Indian national, Ms Shaista Qaiser.

On 20 December 2019, three from the Visakhapattanam-based Eastern Naval Command and three from the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command were arrested by the NIA.

In the spy racket, known as the Visakhapatnam Espionage Case, it was alleged that all junior ranking personnel were “honey trapped” through Facebook and online dating sites, while other high ranking officials were lured with monetary gains to leak out crucial and sensitive information regarding the locations/movements of Indian Navy ships and submarines, as well as other defence establishments.