New Delhi: A Multi-Tasking Staff (MTS) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Satendra Siwal, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on Sunday, February 4, 2024, on charges of spying for Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Siwal, who was posted at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, since 2021, is accused of leaking important classified information about the Indian Embassy, the Defence Ministry, the External Affairs Ministry, and the Indian military establishments to the ISI handlers.
How it was uncovered
The ATS and the IB received intelligence inputs from various confidential sources that the ISI handlers were luring MEA employees with money to obtain strategically important information related to the Indian Army, which could pose a huge threat to the internal and external security of India. The agencies conducted electronic and physical surveillance and found that Siwal was involved in anti-India activities with the network of the ISI handlers. He provided them with important confidential information regarding the strategic activities of the Indian government and the military in exchange for money.
What he confessed
Siwal, who is originally a resident of Hapur district in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested from Meerut. He was questioned by the Meerut unit of the ATS and confessed to his crime. He admitted that he had sent almost 10-12 sensitive documents to the ISI handlers. He also revealed that he had shared details of crucial meetings and deals from Moscow. Two mobile phones and several identification documents were recovered from him.
What action was taken
An FIR has been registered against Siwal at the ATS police station in Lucknow, under Section 121A of the Indian Penal Code (waging war against the country) and the Official Secrets Act 1923. He will be produced before a court soon. Teams of the ATS and the IB will question him in a joint interrogation. According to sources, more names of his handlers are expected to be revealed in the interrogation, who are possibly Indians.
What the MEA said
The MEA is aware of the arrest and is working with the investigative authorities on the matter. The MEA spokesperson said that the ministry has zero tolerance for any breach of security and confidentiality. He said that the ministry will take appropriate action against the accused and anyone else found to be involved in the case. He also said that the ministry will review its security protocols and procedures to prevent such incidents in the future.