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ISI has increased its spending on Indian moles

By Vicky Nanjappa
Last updated on: April 28, 2010 16:50 IST
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The arrest of Madhuri Gupta, the mole in the Indian establishment, has highlighted the fact that the Pakistan government had increased the budget for such operations from Rs 10 crore to Rs 25 crore, just six months ago.

Intelligence sources told that the specific reason for the Inter-Services Intelligence to increase the spending is largely due to India's continued presence in Afghanistan. The ISI has constantly been trying to tap Indian officials in order to gather information on India's plans in the Afghanistan, since Pakistan too has a major strategic interest there. In the aftermath of the London Conference, Pakistan felt that India would take a more aggressive stand on Afghanistan and the Pakistani establishment feared losing its strategic control over Afghanistan.

IB sources said that the Pakistan establishment had sanctioned Rs 10 crore per year to the ISI to bribe moles in order to pull out information. However six months ago, during a discussion the ISI had made it clear that they needed an increased budget since Indian officials who could be bribed demanded more money. It was readily agreed that the funding would be increased and the limit was then raised to Rs 25 crore per annum.

The ISI has a large network which focuses exclusively on tapping foreign officials. They have a set of handlers who operate and find officials who can be corrupted. Madhuri Gupta's handler is believed to be a man called Rana, who managed to coax her into sharing information. It is also believed that she was romantically involved with Rana, which made his job much easier. Each officer who is on deputation to Pakistan is shadowed by ISI agents. In Gupta's case, it was relatively easy as they managed discern that she was unhappy with her income. They set Rana on her trail who managed not only to suborn her but also get romantically involved with her.

The ISI not only traps such officers, but also sets up a bank account for them in Pakistan and transfers money into it. In Madhuri's case, such a bank account was set up for her.

Indian agencies are worried that the ISI will try and tap more officers as they have increased their spending on such operations. The IB says that the most money is usually spent on Indian officials in Pakistan since information regarding India is of utmost interest to them.
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Vicky Nanjappa