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MEA Staffer Arrested For Allegedly Sending 'Secret' G20 Information to Pakistan

Naveen Pal utilized WhatsApp to share classified data with a woman he had connected with on social media.

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A temporary employee working for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been apprehended by the Ghaziabad Police on charges of espionage.

The individual, identified as Naveen Pal, stands accused of divulging confidential information regarding G-20 meetings and other sensitive matters to an unidentified individual in Pakistan. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) provided crucial information leading to Pal's arrest.

According to officials, Pal utilised WhatsApp to share classified data with a woman he had connected with on social media. While the virtual phone number linked to the woman's WhatsApp account appeared to originate from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, further investigations revealed that the IP address was traced back to Karachi, Pakistan.

A resident of Bhimnagar, near Crossings Republic in Ghaziabad, Naveen Pal worked as an MTS (Multipurpose Staff) in the Ministry of External Affairs and was booked under sections 3, 5, 9 of the Government Secrets Act 1923 and 66F of the IT Act, which addresses cyber terrorism.

He was arrested on 10 July at around 4:15 pm near Shani Mandir on Taj Highway.

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In an FIR accessed by The Quint, the police said, “an Apple mobile was recovered from Naveen Pal. Documents related to Ministry of External Affairs and G-20 were found uploaded in the photo backup section of the mobile and 'Secret' was written on all these documents.

Apart from this, screenshots of some documents were also taken. It has also been confirmed that all these photos were sent on WhatsApp to the mobile number under the contact name of 'Anjali Calcutta'.”

According to initial investigations, Naveen has claimed to establish an online friendship with a girl named Anjali, which led to their conversations and the exchange of contact numbers.

Anjali represented herself as a resident of Kolkata. Further scrutiny by the police has revealed suspicious transactions in Pal's bank account, indicating that he received money in exchange for sharing confidential documents.

The preliminary findings indicate that Pal had been in contact with this woman for approximately two months.

Approximately 85 thousand rupees has been traced to his bank account. Law enforcement agencies suspect that the person posing as Anjali may not be from Kolkata but could have connections to Pakistan or the ISI.

Shubham Patel, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Rural), stated, "A case has been filed against the accused at Crossing Republic Police Station. He will be remanded to custody today. The Ministry of External Affairs has been notified about the incident."

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