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Holes in hacking story,Andaman Major called to Delhi for questioning again

The Indian Army Major posted at the Andaman and Nicobar tri-service command,from whose computer classified data was found to have been transferred to a Pakistani ISI operative....

Written by Shishir Gupta | New Delhi |
June 6, 2010 3:05:47 am

The Indian Army Major posted at the Andaman and Nicobar tri-service command,from whose computer classified data was found to have been transferred to a Pakistani ISI operative,has been called to New Delhi on Monday for questioning again by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Military Intelligence.

The Indian Express had first reported on the possible espionage involving the Army officer on May 6. But the Army had clarified that it was a case of hacking,the probe had shown no evidence of espionage,and that the officer was back on duty.

However,counter-intelligence investigations have confirmed that the Major’s computer contained a large number of classified Army presentations including those pertaining to the Strategic Forces Command,and even minutes of meetings at the Army Commanders Conference.

Counter-intelligence has conveyed to the Home Ministry that action should be taken against the Major,an officer of the Bihar regiment posted with the 108 Brigade. Government sources told The Sunday Express that Home Minister P Chidambaram has personally discussed this matter with Defence Minister A K Antony.

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American intelligence,investigating a tip-off from the David Coleman Headley interrogation and keeping tabs on a Pakistani ISI computer,had noticed the flow of huge amounts of classified Indian Army data into it and alerted their counterparts in India.

While the officer has maintained that his computer had been hacked by the ISI through a malware,all files from the hard disk had been deleted by the Major himself.

According to top sources,the investigations have unearthed the following:

* Laboratory tests have confirmed that a second attempt was made to delete the files while the Major’s computer was in the custody of the authorities. Despite surveillance and subsequent investigations,the person responsible for the attempt has not been identified.

* Through x-ray techniques and data recovery methods,investigators have found that the officer’s computer may have contained a total of 3,000 Army presentations including those marked highly classified or secret and belonging to areas where the Major had no access. Military Intelligence says the hard disk contained two secret presentations and 50 highly confidential documents — the rest was course study material.

* The Major got the classified data from three sources,but has not yet revealed his contacts during repeated questioning.

* The Army brass believes that the Major could have been acting alone,but Home Ministry officials suspect more people could be involved.

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