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Pakistan spy ring busted, Indian Navy’s critical assets exposed

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New Delhi: The arrest of seven naval officials from Mumbai, Karwar (Karnataka) and Visakhapatnam on Friday for leaking sensitive information about the movements of warships and submarines to Pakistani agents has exposed lapses in the security apparatus placed around critical assets in India.

According to intelligence agencies, which busted the espionage racket being run by Pakistan, three sailors were arrested from Visakhapatnam, two from Karwar and two from Mumbai.

The agencies stated that both the Eastern and Western naval command centres, responsible for the security of maritime borders, were exposed to the Pakistani agents.

Intelligence agencies busted the espionage racket linked to Pakistan with the arrest of seven Indian Navy personnel and a hawala operator.

“Some more suspects are being questioned,” the agencies said.

The agencies pointed out that Visakhapatnam, the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy and also the base of nuclear submarine Arihant, was exposed to the espionage racket. They also stated that the Eastern Command looks upon suspicious Chinese ship movements in Indian waters.

The Western naval command in Mumbai was also exposed along with Karwar, the naval centre which has the force”s lone aircraft carrier Vikramaditya.

Indian Navy, however, maintained that their critical assets were intact and that there was no breach.

About the arrests, the force said: “In a joint operation with naval intelligence and Central intelligence agencies, the Andhra Pradesh Police arrested some junior naval personnel. The case is under investigation by Andhra Pradesh Police.”

Meanwhile, the intelligence wing of Andhra Pradesh police also said that they have busted the racket under an operation named ”Dolphin”s Nose” in association with the central intelligence agencies and naval intelligence.

The accused were produced before the National Investigation Agency court in Vijayawada on Friday. They were remanded to judicial custody till January 3. Further details are awaited.

The police said that all the arrested officials were in touch with Pakistani women who had befriended them on Facebook.

It is alleged that officials were paid through a hawala operator for providing information. The chats between these sailors who were being used by Pakistani agents were sexually explicit.

Sources said the honey trap with women posing as their friends on Facebook was set up by Pakistani intelligence operatives. The sailors were later blackmailed and forced to provide information.

“We are probing the matter and more people could be arrested,” the probe agencies said.

Business

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 passes in Rajya Sabha.

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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday through a voice vote passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020. The bill amends the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010, which regulates the use and acceptance of foreign contribution by individuals and organizations. The Act prohibits foreign contribution for any activities that pose a danger to national interest.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday and will now be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.

Minister of state (MoS), home affairs, Nityanand Rai moved the bill for passage in the Upper House.

During the discussion on the bill, Rai said that the FCRA is a law for national and internal security, aimed to ensure that foreign funds do not dominate the political and social discourse in India.

The minister also said that it has been proposed to make Aadhaar for Indian citizens and passports or OCI for foreigners mandatory to verify identity. The home ministry consulted UIDAI and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) before proposing the move, he added.

“Experience says that many organisations attempted to hide their identity and were successful in doing that. The reason behind this is that they had no fear because their identity was not established completely. So Aadhaar card has been brought in to establish their identity,” Rai said.

The minister pointed out that the bill provides for reduction in administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding, from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds.

The bill also proposes to enable the Center to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate.

 

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