India's anti-terror police arrest embassy staff member on charges of spying for Pakistan

Suspect, 28, accused of sharing classified information in exchange for money

Satendra Siwal, who has worked at India's embassy in Moscow since 2021, was arrested in Lucknow. Photo: Uttar Pradesh Police
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Counter-terrorism police have arrested an employee of India's diplomatic mission in Moscow in Russia on suspicion of spying for Pakistan.

Satendra Siwal, a staff member at the Indian embassy in Moscow, was arrested in his house in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh by the state's Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on February 2.

Mr Siwal is accused of being involved in anti-Indian activities, including passing on confidential information to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The employee, 28, from Hapur district in Uttar Pradesh, has been working at the Moscow embassy since 2021.

“The UP ATS had received inputs from several confidential sources that the Pakistani spy agency ISI’s handlers had used money to influence some people working at the Foreign Ministry of India to leak top-secret information regarding the Indian Army and its strategies,” an ATS statement said.

The ATS said the accused had been sharing classified information related to the strategic activities of the Defence Ministry, the External Affairs Ministry and the Indian military with a woman in exchange for money.

Mr Siwal had been under surveillance before his arrest, the ATS said.

He was called in for questioning during a visit to his home area. The ATS said he was arrested after confessing to the alleged crimes during interrogation.

The Ministry of External Affairs has yet to release a statement.

India and Pakistan are arch-rivals.

Relations between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours, which have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, are at their lowest since 2019 after New Delhi unilaterally changed the constitutional status of the disputed region of Kashmir.

The two countries were on the brink of another war in February 2019 after India launched air strikes in Pakistan over claims that a militant group backed by Islamabad was behind a suicide bombing that killed 41 Indian paramilitary soldiers in Kashmir.

Updated: February 05, 2024, 11:23 AM