Gujarat man arrested for 'spying', sharing Army details to Pakistan
The WhatsApp number used in the espionage activities remains active in Pakistan. Maheshwari's modus operandi involved targeting the families of Army personnel, masquerading as an official from the Army Public School.
In a significant development, the Gujarat Police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) apprehended an individual in Tapur town, Anand district, on charges of espionage. This individual, who was once a Pakistan national but later became an Indian citizen, stands accused of transmitting sensitive information to Pakistan. The ATS initiated its operation following military intelligence reports, which revealed the activities of a 55-year-old Pakistani intelligence operative (PIO) named Labhshankar Maheshwari.
The accused utilized a WhatsApp number to contact Army personnel and disseminate Remote Access Trojan (RAT) malware with the intent of extracting classified information.
According to ATS Superintendent of Police Om Prakash Jat, the accused used an Indian SIM card registered under the name Muhammad Saklain Thaim. This SIM card was activated on a mobile phone owned by Azgar Hajibai and subsequently transported to Maheshwari in Anand, as per the instructions of an individual associated with the Pakistan Embassy.
Jat stated, "Labhshankar Maheshwari was a Pakistani citizen who came to India in 1999, later acquiring Indian citizenship. His extended family remains in Pakistan."
The WhatsApp number used in the espionage activities remains active in Pakistan. Maheshwari's modus operandi involved targeting the families of Army personnel, masquerading as an official from the Army Public School. He would engage his targets through messages, encouraging them to participate in a purported competition, which required them to upload photos featuring national flags. Regrettably, Maheshwari also transmitted the contact details of Indian defense personnel to a Pakistani agency, raising concerns about national security.
The arrest sheds light on the ongoing efforts to combat espionage and protect sensitive information in the region.