Investigations revealed that over 325 people were contacted using fake social media accounts within just two weeks

An alert by central security agencies to the police headquarters of Punjab said that some female Pakistani Intelligence Operatives (PIO) are targeting officials of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force using fake social media profiles. The Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) released a list of 14 such suspicious profiles that were made to lure Indian officials.

"The names of these female PIOs are similar to common Indian female names, so that the Indians can easily trust them. We have blocked over a dozen such fake profiles but new profiles are being created every day to trap people," a senior police official told India Today.

The fake profiles were found on several social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Telegram.

Besides officials, police also alerted the common people about the threats posed by such accounts.

"Since we are the border district and the Indo-Pak border is just 26 km away from the highly sensitive Pathankot area where there are installations of a very sensitive nature, we take extra precautions," said a senior police official. He added that the accounts are created using fake photographs of women.

After a person starts talking to such profiles, they are blackmailed by saying their obscene photographs will be circulated, added the official.

Investigations revealed that over 325 people were contacted using fake social media accounts within just two weeks.

Officials Honey Trapped In The Past

There have been several instances in the past five years where officials fell victim to such fake accounts. They were later arrested under the Official Secrets Act for sharing sensitive information with the ISI.

There was a major uproar in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) after DRDO scientist Pradeep Kurulkar was booked for espionage on charges of leaking BrahMos missile secrets of the country to a female PIO, who identified herself as Zara Dasgupta.

Kurulkar was arrested in May this year for showing a highly classified report on the BrahMos missile project.

Many other officials have been arrested on charges of sharing sensitive information with the ISI in the past.

Police officials say most of the accused arrested under the Official Secrets Act were army jawans who were lured by offering money or making obscene audio and video calls. These agents were also hacking the data.

Two of such cases were reported in Kashmir's Pathankot in span of two years.

On February 26, 2022, an Army Jawan Amarpal Singh posted at the Pathankot cantonment was arrested from Gurdaspur's Telwandi Bharyhwal village phone charges of sharing sensitive information with ISI.

Earlier on October 27 ,2021, a Sirsa Haryana resident Mandeep Singh was arrested from the Pathankot cantonment area on spying charges.

On August 30 2014 an Air Force Jawan, identified as Sunil Kumar, was also arrested on similar charges. He was held from Guteti village in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He was honey-trapped by one ISI agent, Meena Raina.