The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested a Pakistani spy, identified as Labh Shankar Maheshwari, from the Tarapur area of Anand district. The arrest was made on Thursday. Labh Shankar Maheshwari is believed to be the first individual arrested for espionage after acquiring Indian citizenship.
Gujarat ATS received intelligence from the Military Intelligence regarding the suspicious activities of a Pakistani Army agent using WhatsApp on an Indian SIM card.
According to Senior Police Officer Om Prakash Jat, Maheshwari was found transmitting sensitive information to Pakistan, specifically employing remote access trojans.
The investigation unveiled that Maheshwari had been sharing classified information through WhatsApp, which was subsequently utilized by Pakistani secret agency operatives. This network exploited the information to infiltrate the mobile devices of security personnel, gathering intelligence data through these breaches.
Maheshwari allegedly posed as an employee of an army school, duping parents into downloading a file he claimed was required for information recording, while also falsely associating an application with the government’s ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign to lure army personnel.
Moreover, he sent messages encouraging recipients to install the app and upload photos of their children with the national flag. Shockingly, it has been revealed that the ‘apk’ file was actually a Remote Access Trojan (RAT), a malicious software aimed at extracting sensitive data from mobile phones, including contacts, location information, and videos, as per the Gujarat ATS.
The stolen data was reported to have been routed to a data center accessible to the Pakistan army, including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), for processing.
Maheshwari is now facing serious charges under Indian law. He’s been accused of hiding his intentions to harm the government (section 123) and conspiring against the government (section 121-A) as per the Indian Penal Code. He’s also facing charges related to the use of technology in the case, which is covered under the Information Technology Act.
“Our investigation has shown that Maheshwari, who originally hails from Pakistan and was granted Indian citizenship in 2005, agreed to participate in this conspiracy to expedite the visa process for himself, his wife, and two other family members who wished to visit Pakistan to meet their relatives,” said ATS superintendent of police Om Prakash Jat.
Labh Shankar Maheshwari, the arrested individual, is originally a Pakistani Hindu who migrated to India in 1999 with his wife, seeking fertility treatment. Initially residing in Tarapur at his in-laws’ house, he gradually established several successful businesses in the area.
In 2006, he was granted Indian citizenship, becoming the first known case of an espionage arrest after attaining Indian nationality.