New Delhi: On Facebook, Anika Chopra claims to be an Army Captain of the Military Nursing Corps. In her profile picture, she is seen wearing a green saree and a pretty smile.
That smile has now landed 50 jawans under the scanner of intelligence agencies. One jawan has even been arrested. The sequence of events is straight out of the honey-trapping rulebook of Pakistani intelligence, one that has the Indian Army increasingly worried.
Sepoy Somveer Singh, posted with an armoured unit in Jaisalmer, was taken into custody after he was caught sharing sensitive information and pictures of his location and army exercises with Anika Chopra.
It was clear to both military intelligence and to Rajasthan ATS that Chopra was a Pakistani agent who had honey-trapped not just Singh, who is married, but other soldiers as well. But Singh claims he did not know of Chopra’s antecedents till the blackmail began.
Somveer Singh had met Anika Chopra on Facebook in 2016 shortly after being commissioned. The lad from Rohtak was flattered when a lady officer approached him with a friend request. The relationship soon turned intimate and Singh reportedly even made up his mind to divorce his wife and marry Chopra.
Unknown to him, the military intelligence had been tracking his activities after regular phone calls from Jammu that started 5 months ago triggered alarm bells. Subsequent tracking of Singh’s Facebook chats revealed that the woman who claimed to be Captain Anika Chopra was operating from Pakistan.
In the beginning she asked him questions that seemed innocent enough — where are you posted? Can you send a picture of your tank? When is the field firing taking place?
Singh didn't hesitate while revealing the information to his ‘friend’. But as soon as he did reveal the details, Chopra started blackmailing him. Sources in military intelligence claim Singh had started accepting money in lieu of information, but added that so far only a trail of Rs 5,000 had been established.
Chopra had been ‘courting’ not just him, but around 50 other soldiers as well who had disguised their identity on Facebook and posted likes and comments. These soldiers are being questioned by a joint team of Rajasthan STF and military intelligence.
During the questioning, it emerged that Anika Chopra gave each jawan a specific time during which she would chat with them.
Honey-trapping is a very old form of espionage, but has become big cause for concern in the age of social media. Army Chief Bipin Rawat, too, had lamented about it last year, saying the men in uniform had been approached online by people with fake profiles of celebrities like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra.